Peak Water: Until Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Syzygys, Jul 9, 2012.

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  1. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    If these problems are so easily solved, why are so many people drinking substandard (contaminated with arsenic, pathological bacteria, etc.) at the present time? If there are simple solutions, millions living in India and Bangladesh would be very eager to hear them.
     
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  3. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Yep, Travis is making some pretty common mistakes there - mostly by not thinking the whole thing all the way through. Sure, technology can assist with the problem but it cannot be an all-in-one solution. For one thing, he's totally ignoring just how energy-intensive desalination is.

    For another, this statement: "As for the aquifers, I'd be more worried about the desertification of America's farmland, although that's not even an issue with the new GMs, greenhouses, and research into synthetics." shows a tremendous amount of naivety. GMs, greenhouses, etc. are totally useless on farmland without sufficent water. Plus the fact that it requires millions of acres of farmland to provide the current amount of food that's already being used today. And who is going to pay for greenhouses THAT big and the transportation costs for the water needed? And he has the audacity to claim that such things are "not even an issue."

    I don't know what planet he lives on but it certainly isn't the one that the rest of us here inhabit. :shrug:
     
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  5. twr Registered Senior Member

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    It's not lost. The only time it would become a problem would be for land locked countries without the option to desalinize. If the Arabs can build huge cities in a desert and supply them with water, I'm pretty sure America would be more than capable. The water cycle is a *cycle*. Water comes out of the ocean, rains down on mountains, then drains back out into the ocean or replenishes aquifers. This happens naturally. You understand this, right?

    It's irrelevant where the water goes; if it goes to the Pacific or the Atlantic, it's still in the ocean. Coastal desalinization plants could just ship water back to Kansas. It's not like there's a giant wall around the coast that prevents the ocean from being pumped. It's not lost for practical usage. My God, you must be one of those creationist types who believe the world's only been around for 6000 odd years; THE WATER CYCLE HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS. ITS ALL THE SAME WATER. IT DOESN'T GET LOST.

    Ever heard that old adage about how you could be breathing the same air as Mozart, or Jesus? It's a similar concept with water. We still have access to it. We will never have a water crisis as long as energy is abundant (and it is), because we will always be able to desalinate water from the ocean.
     
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  7. twr Registered Senior Member

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    Really? Repo, honestly, think this through. It's simple; money. They don't have the funds to purchase the solutions (which exist, and if you deny that the technology is already fully developed, we have nothing left to discuss). The other issue there too is over population and inflation; the sheer number of people there mean that it's difficult for governments to plan out infrastructure properly. If NGOs had billions of dollars I'm sure they'd be all over desalinization there, because it's the only obvious choice (other than on a small scale, maybe water catchment) while the population continues to go up for the next couple of decades.


    The point I was trying to make was that Syzygys does this all the time, trying to make herself appear more well informed about tired issues that have already been solved but not yet funded. I can't stand it when people waste the time of the brilliant people on this forum with propaganda like this, where the only solution is a radical solution that the doom-sayer came up with and will be hailed for, rather than rationally funded technology. When I said it wasn't an issue, I meant the problem had been solved; it's not like Nuclear Proliferation, where it needs to be managed carefully; if we want to do it, we can do it.

    As for the point on desertification; I was merely saying I'd be more worried about the soil crisis (which hasn't been entirely figured out, but with GMs and greenhouses could be somewhat mitigated) than the water. Water is abundant. Proper farmland is not.

    And transportation costs? Really? We pump oil all day. If the demand is there, it can be done. However, you also have to consider that we truck coal (which is literally cheaper than dirt) hundreds of miles from mine to plant. I think we'll be ok on transportation costs. People can do without power. They can't do without water. It's a pretty assured market.
     
  8. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    A solution to a problem that requires energy/money that people do not have isn't much of a solution.
     
  9. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Sure my man. But if there is no MORE rain in Kansas (then before), because the aquifer has been used up (returned to the cycle), than they still have a problem. More rain in the Pacific is not good for drying out Kansas. You understand this, right?

    You just shot yourself on the foot. Kansas is landlocked, so again, the water for them was lost FOREVER.

    You seem to be struck on the desalinization. The reason why it is needed, because they reached and passed PEAK WATER.... So do you agree that peak water has been passed for the Great Plains or not?

    If the water was in the aquifer for a million years, and it is not there but in the Pacific, it is sure lost for Kansas, for the last time...Globally you are right, but if the water or oil or whatever is up in Alaska or underwater 5 miles in hard to mine areas, where it is VERY COSTLY to get it, that doesn't help much us down in the lower 48....

    And the bottomline is, we have already reached peak coal/oil/water for the lower 48....

    Now if we go global, the nice fresh local water suddenly became salty and toxic not so good for usage water. Do you see the problem my man???
     
  10. twr Registered Senior Member

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    Kansas may be landlocked but it's part of the United States, which is not; water can be transported there if need be.
    Whether or not it has occurred is not my concern. Is the geological data in the article from Harpers? My argument is that there is no need for you to pretend as though you're providing revolutionary news. Let's look at some words you used describing the "news";
    - Scare
    - Distressing
    - (and, somewhat indirectly) suicidal

    Fox News would berate that as a biased, sensationalized piece of hype. You're fear-mongering for nothing and for no reason. I would wager there are very few people on this forum who have the influence to prevent the water table from being depleted.


    How does oil in Alaska not help you down South? Back on topic; I see what you're saying about the water table being depleted, and I understand it takes time for water tables to be replenished, however, the fact of the matter is Kansas is not doomed to become some sort of desolate wasteland as a result of table depletion. Lots of areas in California have nearly depleted their water tables, but they still produce an abundance of agricultural goods. It's obviously best to avoid the problem and try to avoid depletion, but again, IT'S NOT NEARLY AS BIG AN ISSUE AS YOU ARE MAKING IT OUT TO BE.


    I can't refute this, but every time I've asked you to provide geological data to substantiate your claim, you've neglected to do so (although I will stipulate to oil, because I've read many times over that the reserves are running low)


    Then use reverse osmosis. Toxins can be removed easily by this process. They are a burden to ecosystems, certainly, and that is the context they should be worried about in. Even distillation would remove virtually all the salt and toxins. This happens on a global scale, everyday, via evaporation and precipitation. There's no reason we couldn't replicate the system (although reverse osmosis would make more sense on a commercial scale)
     
  11. twr Registered Senior Member

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    That's like saying Nuclear technology isn't a viable solution to our energy needs because every municipality can't afford one.

    The solutions are there.
     
  12. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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  13. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    And there are millions who are drinking substandard water as it is. Projecting current trends into the future only shows the problem getting worse. Solutions that require more energy use are expensive, which means they are out of reach of the desperately poor. Increased energy usage also means increased CO2 emissions, thereby contributing to climate change, and exacerbating the problem.
     
  14. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    When ice turns to water
    Glacial melting poses potentially costly problems for Peru and Bolivia


     
  15. twr Registered Senior Member

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    Increased energy usage doesn't necessarily mean increased emissions. Solar power, for instance. The poorer countries usually have an abundance of sunlight and underdeveloped land (IE for Wind). You could distill the water with plastic wrap and sunlight if you really had to. It just makes more sense to build a desalination plant (I believe the term I'm looking for is economies of scale). It can be done. Do you accept or reject that premise?
     
  16. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    I accept the premise that many people are drinking water now that is poisoning them because they cannot afford to pursue any possible alternatives, and that a host of factors are converging that make it look as though the situation is going to become very bleak for millions more in the relatively near future.
     
  17. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Well, that is the topic of this thread, what you are posting in....

    I agree, they are not revolutionary. Peak oil has been known since the 70s. You might want to notify the GOP though....


    It is called dramatic effect, but if you are a farmer with your crops burning out because of no water/rain, you might feel suicidical...

    FN has no right to criticize ANYONE. And they would deny peak oil...Since you are referring to it, it confirms my suspicion that you are a Republican...


    What it has to do with anything? Non sequitur at its best. We are discussing a problem which is not obvious, even if nothing new...

    Price....

    Well, depends on what is done about it. The current state of affairs can not be continued forever.

    I think the keyword is NEARLY. Once they completely deplete it, there will be no production....

    Well, how about a logical approach? Beside rainwater the Great Plains' agriculture also has been using the aquifer. The aquifer is being depleted pretty fast, thus unless some extra water comes from somewhere, peak water has been already reached, probably 1-2 decades ago... And I don't suppose the water from the aquifer ends up az extra rain in the Pacific Coast, thus that water was lost for forever...

    I didn't say there was no solution. But we have to deal with the issues, instead of saying as Faux News would say, hey we have bunch of oil shale under the Rockies, why don't we get it? Well, for one, because it requires huge amount of water, and that water has been spoken for 110% already...
     
  18. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Kind of offtopic, but since Travis brought up Faux news, here is their 6 points of denial of I am not sure what, because their arguments don't address the "myths":

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/12/29/myths-oil/

    The first 2 are quick non-sequiturs, unrelated to the myths, they are trying to refute. the #3 is the peak oil one:

    "Myth #3: Because oil is finite, it will inevitably run out.

    “The amazing exhibition of oil is a temporary and vanishing phenomenon, one which young men will live to see come to its natural end.” –State Geologist of Pennsylvania, 1885.

    Reality: There’s a lot more oil than you think—and if we have a free market in energy we will ensure that we find superior substitutes long before we run out."

    Mind you, they DIDN'T deny the fact of peak oil, they just said, there is more than we think and the market will take care of everything.. And finally they did use the words: "before we run out", basicly acknowledging peak oil...
     
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    In a manner of speaking, yes. The coal is burned. That puts CO2 in the atmosphere. Trees and plankton use the CO2 to form organic materials. They die and are re-compressed, eventually becoming coal again.

    But as the process takes millions of years it's not all that useful to us nowadays.
     
  20. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    I wanted to post the same thing. Dinosaurs die, eventually make oil. Oil gets burned in the atmosphere, living things breath it in, they die, eventually they make oil... It's a bit a long cycle, but it is still a cycle....
     
  21. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    It is, however, one that can be sped up.
     
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Uh, well, dinosaurs (and animals) breathe OUT carbon dioxide, and dinosaurs didn't really contribute to oil formation - but yes, I agree it's a cycle. (Unfortunately we can't wait a few million years for more oil.)
     
  23. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    I think we're all ignoring the elephant in the room: PEAK SUNLIGHT. Our sun is 4.5 billion years old, and in another few billion years it will have reached its life span midpoint! Then we're all F&CKED!!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    We'd better start conservation efforts immediately!! I mean, it's ALWAYS better to completely surrender to all forms of anti-consumerist propaganda, right? It's like political versions of Pascal's Wager...except these usually have huge and immediate financial consequences.

    The day I see solutions to these problems that don't involve enormous political power grabs and socialist global wealth redistribution is the day I'll remove my fingers from my ears and sell my Hummer; until then you can kiss my ass...:cheers:
     
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