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World is running out of water, says UN adviser

Old 02-05-07, 06:46 PM
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World is running out of water, says UN adviser

I'm posting 3 articles here.

I think the title of the first article is wrong, and I'm posting the other 2 articles to explain why.


http://environment.guardian.co.uk/wa...996211,00.html

World is running out of water, says UN adviser

Randeep Ramesh in New Delhi

Monday January 22, 2007

Guardian Unlimited

The world is running out of water and needs a radical plan to tackle shortages that threaten the ability of humanity to feed itself, according to Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN's Millennium Project.

Professor Sachs, who is credited with sparking pop star Bono's crusade for African development, told an environment conference in Delhi that the world simply had "no more rivers to take water from".

The breadbaskets of India and China were facing severe water shortages and neither Asian giant could use the same strategies for increasing food production that has fed millions in the last few decades.

"In 2050 we will have 9 billion people and average income will be four times what it is today. India and China have been able to feed their populations because they use water in an unsustainable way. That is no longer possible," he said.

Since Asia's green revolution, which began in the 1960s and saw a transformation of agricultural production, the amount of land under irrigation has tripled. However, many parts of the continent have reached the limits of their water supplies. "The Ganges [in India] and the Yellow river [in China] no longer flow. There is so much silting up and water extraction upstream they are pretty stagnant," said Prof Sachs.

The US academic said that the mechanisms of shrinking water resources are not well understood. "We need to do for water what we did for climate change. How do we recharge aquifers? What about ground water use? There's no policy anywhere in place at the moment."

The US academic said that the rise of Asia was altering the world's resources in an unprecedented way - for the first time humans were shaping the environment rather than nature.

"China is on course to be the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide by 2010 in the world. India is building eight 4,000MW power plants - are they ready for carbon capture? I don't think so."

The British government has been trying to persuade a reluctant New Delhi to embrace green technology. Officials in India still talk about the need for accelerating growth and see tackling climate change as a brake on the economy.

David Miliband, the environment minister, said he was confident that the country would join a scheme for managing greenhouse gas emissions after the present Kyoto protocol runs out in 2012.

"India is already the fourth largest emitter [in the world]. It is already being affected by climate change and I have been encouraged to see that ministers here are engaging with the issue," said Mr Miliband

.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/question157.htm

How much water is there on Earth?

There's a whole lot of water on Earth! Something like 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons (326 million trillion gallons) of the stuff (roughly 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 liters) can be found on our planet.
This water is in a constant cycle -- it evaporates from the ocean, travels through the air, rains down on the land and then flows back to the ocean.

The oceans are huge. About 70 percent of the planet is covered in ocean, and the average depth of the ocean is several thousand feet (about 1,000 meters). Ninety-eight percent of the water on the planet is in the oceans, and therefore is unusable for drinking because of the salt. About 2 percent of the planet's water is fresh, but 1.6 percent of the planet's water is locked up in the polar ice caps and glaciers. Another 0.36 percent is found underground in aquifers and wells. Only about 0.036 percent of the planet's total water supply is found in lakes and rivers. That's still thousands of trillions of gallons, but it's a very small amount compared to all the water available.

The rest of the water on the planet is either floating in the air as clouds and water vapor, or is locked up in plants and animals (your body is 65 percent water, so if you weigh 100 pounds, 65 pounds of you is water!). There's also all the soda pop, milk and orange juice you see at the store and in your refrigerator… There's probably several billion gallons of water sitting on a shelf at any one time!

.

http://www.ejpress.org/article/4873

French-run water plant launched in Israel

28/Dec/2005

An innovative new water plant in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, operated by French company Veolia Water, is now fully operational.

The new Ashkelon Sea Water Reverse Osmosis plant will provide drinking water for 1.4 million people in southern Israel through the desalination of local sea water.

It produces 320,000 cubic meters of drinking water a day, 108 million cubic meters a year, which represents about six percent of the country’s water demands.


The estimated 1.5 billion Euro contract signed by Veolia and its Israeli partners covers the finance, construction and operation of the plant and the overall revenue for the first 25 years. After this initial period, the plant will be transferred to the client, the government of Israel.

Worldwide provider

The Ashkelon unit is the first major step in the Israeli government’s desalination master plan.

North Africa and the Middle East are facing water shortage problems. They hold more than six percent of the world’s population but less than two percent of the planet’s renewable fresh water.

Israel decided to address this problem five years ago by launching a desalination project which plans the construction of several seawater treatment sites along its Mediterranean coastline.

The Ashkelon unit is the first of the series. Its production represents 25 percent of Israel’s initial goal of 400 million cubic meters if drinking water a year. By 2020, the country aims to produce 750 million cubic meters.

Worldwide, only one percent of drinking water is produced by desalination and Veolia Water believes this technology should be developed. Seawater could become one of the main alternative sources in the decades ahead.

Its desalination is a priority area of research and development for Veolia. The French company won the Ashkelon plant tender launched by the Israeli Ministry of Infrastructure in 2001 with its Israeli associates IDE technologies and Dankner Ellern Infrastructure.

Desalination plan

Veolia believes the Ashkelon plant is a decisive step towards the recognition of its expertise in seawater desalination, using either membrane technology as in Ashkelon, or the thermal process, which is widely used in the Middle East.

The plant is comprised of two parallel treatment units that function separately. It includes membrane desalination units, facilities for seawater pumping, brine removal and water treatment.

The system utilises three parallel pipes. From the pumping station raw seawater flows to the pre-treatment facilities through two separate lines. Filtration is performed in two stages, with gravity and cartridge filters. The filtered water then passes to the seawater reverse osmosis process via high-pressure pumps.

Post treatment is used to re-mineralise the water, which then enters the national water system.

The Ashkelon factory designers planned maximum saving of energy and money.

Osmosis requires a high level of energy, because of the pumps, but the costs were reduced by the construction of a dedicated power station.

The drinking water that is produced in Ashkelon costs around 52.7 cents per cubic meter, which has been evaluated as the lowest price in the world for this kind of operation.
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Old 02-05-07, 06:49 PM
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About time someone did something about the silent killer, Dihydrogen Oxide.


How many more must die, Mr. Speaker? How many more?

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Old 02-05-07, 06:54 PM
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The only real problem is the high density areas. And that mainly means that it is a transmission problem rather than a quantity problem.
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Old 02-05-07, 07:20 PM
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A Julian Simon or a Bjorn Lomborg is worth a thousand of those Ehrlichian or Gore-ian doomsayers. A Norman Borlaug is worth a million.
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Old 02-07-07, 04:44 PM
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The issue is not that the world is running out of water -- it's not. It's running out of potable water. Yes, we can desalinate and purify the water to the nth degree, but at a significant cost -- and many of the poorer nations of the world (especially in Asia and Africa) just can't afford that cost.

Even in the United States, we are running out of options for providing cheap potable water, especially in overdeveloped areas like California and Florida.
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Old 02-07-07, 05:12 PM
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Especially when there are so many pools to be filled, lawns to grow, etc.

Poppycock, I say! Our problem is what we have, it is how we choose to use it. The bigger problem in other countries is where they choose to live.
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Old 02-07-07, 05:47 PM
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If the premise were that the Earth is running out of FRESH water, I might consider voting yes. From what I have read, and considered, I do believe our FRESH water supply is in jeopardy more and more each day.

But is the Earth running out of water in general? Hell no.
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Old 02-07-07, 06:02 PM
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no, there's plenty of water in them polar ice caps. Just gotta get them melted somehow. Too bad global warming is a myth.
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Old 02-07-07, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason
no, there's plenty of water in them polar ice caps. Just gotta get them melted somehow. Too bad global warming is a myth.
You know, those that tout the abundance of fresh water often claim that a lot of our fresh water is in the polar ice caps. So when they melt, doesn't that water blend in with the salt water, making this "fresh" water basically useless?
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Old 02-07-07, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ukywyldcat
You know, those that tout the abundance of fresh water often claim that a lot of our fresh water is in the polar ice caps. So when they melt, doesn't that water blend in with the salt water, making this "fresh" water basically useless?


Yeah, sure... but I think the whole idea is to not let the ice caps melt into the frickin' ocean...
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Old 02-07-07, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo


Yeah, sure... but I think the whole idea is to not let the ice caps melt into the frickin' ocean...
Yeah, good luck with that...
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Old 02-07-07, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
The issue is not that the world is running out of water -- it's not. It's running out of potable water. Yes, we can desalinate and purify the water to the nth degree, but at a significant cost -- and many of the poorer nations of the world (especially in Asia and Africa) just can't afford that cost.

Even in the United States, we are running out of options for providing cheap potable water, especially in overdeveloped areas like California and Florida.
Well, how about the UN takes care of the poorer nations who just can't get their act together. Why is the modern world always expected to take up the slack. Enough is enough. For example, Africa. How many goddamn years is the modern world going to feel sorry for this place and finally just say, "Hey guys, you're on your own. Figure out yourselves. We did."
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Old 02-07-07, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
Well, how about the UN takes care of the poorer nations who just can't get their act together. Why is the modern world always expected to take up the slack. Enough is enough. For example, Africa. How many goddamn years is the modern world going to feel sorry for this place and finally just say, "Hey guys, you're on your own. Figure out yourselves. We did."
Let's put this in perspective. A modern reverse-osmosis water treatment plant would cost approximately $30 million. We could build 30 of these around the world -- in Africa, in Asia, in Iraq, in South America -- for $1 billion. This year alone, we're budgeting $500 billion to defense. Wouldn't it be a heck of a lot cheaper for us to be proactive, to win back our global reputation, by investing one half of one percent of that defense money to providing clean, potable water for the poorest nations of the world?
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Old 02-07-07, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
Well, how about the UN takes care of the poorer nations who just can't get their act together. Why is the modern world always expected to take up the slack. Enough is enough. For example, Africa. How many goddamn years is the modern world going to feel sorry for this place and finally just say, "Hey guys, you're on your own. Figure out yourselves. We did."
Maybe this time, they can colonize us, enslave us, and steal our resources!
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Old 02-07-07, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
Let's put this in perspective. A modern reverse-osmosis water treatment plant would cost approximately $30 million. We could build 30 of these around the world -- in Africa, in Asia, in Iraq, in South America -- for $1 billion. This year alone, we're budgeting $500 billion to defense. Wouldn't it be a heck of a lot cheaper for us to be proactive, to win back our global reputation, by investing one half of one percent of that defense money to providing clean, potable water for the poorest nations of the world?
You've got my vote. I'd rather it be done privately but even if it were done by our government, I agree it's a heck of a lot better than being poured down the Iraqi rathole.

Last edited by movielib; 02-07-07 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 02-07-07, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason
Yeah, good luck with that...
Well, the main ice caps (Antarctica and Greenland) are losing ice along the edges and gaining ice in the interior through increased snowfall. Overall, it's difficult to say what the net result is but best guess seems to be losing a little overall in Greenland and gaining a little overall in Antarctica.
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Old 02-08-07, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
Let's put this in perspective. A modern reverse-osmosis water treatment plant would cost approximately $30 million. We could build 30 of these around the world -- in Africa, in Asia, in Iraq, in South America -- for $1 billion. This year alone, we're budgeting $500 billion to defense. Wouldn't it be a heck of a lot cheaper for us to be proactive, to win back our global reputation, by investing one half of one percent of that defense money to providing clean, potable water for the poorest nations of the world?

Well, you make it sound easy, but let's be realistic here. Who are the contractors going to be? You make it sound like they could build the things and that's it. Well, I suspect we would fall into another Iraq situation where we have villagers fighting each other, and greedy contractors making the taxpayer bill 10 or even 100-times what the original estimate was. And you know any form of contractor is going to up the price the longer the process get's postponed.

Here's my stipulation.

ONLY in areas where people can get along with each other, will we help them out.

The water treatment plants created in areas of conflict would be damaged within a short period of time, and they would be whining along with the UN within a few years or so.
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Old 02-08-07, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
ONLY in areas where people can get along with each other, will we help them out.
They wouldn't be getting along any longer if we announced we were building them a utility for fresh water...they'd fight over who controlled it once we left. Hell, they'd fight over where to put it in the planning phase.
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Old 02-08-07, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by movielib
You've got my vote. I'd rather it be done privately but even if it were done by our government, I agree it's a heck of a lot better than being poured down the Iraqi rathole.
Still, there are a lot of costs there that aren't figured into the overall equation. You should also look at localized economic and environmental impacts. A water treatment plant that works in one country won't work in another. There are also massive problems with other instabilities and deficiencies in infrastructure. Having a plant that creates clean, drinkable water is one thing, and having that water actually reach the people is another.
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Old 02-08-07, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Superboy
Still, there are a lot of costs there that aren't figured into the overall equation. You should also look at localized economic and environmental impacts. A water treatment plant that works in one country won't work in another. There are also massive problems with other instabilities and deficiencies in infrastructure. Having a plant that creates clean, drinkable water is one thing, and having that water actually reach the people is another.
I don't disagree. There's always the problem of autocratic, corrupt governments that have plagued the third world. Much, if not most, of the food and medicine we've tried to contribute has just served to make dictators and warlords richer and more powerful.
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Old 02-08-07, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by movielib
I don't disagree. There's always the problem of autocratic, corrupt governments that have plagued the third world. Much, if not most, of the food and medicine we've tried to contribute has just served to make dictators and warlords richer and more powerful.
Exactly. Personally I think these countries should shape up and then just buy them from us.
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Old 02-08-07, 03:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Superboy
Exactly. Personally I think these countries should shape up and then just buy them from us.
Yes, I think I made Post #15 a little too hastily and without thinking it through sufficiently. In a perfect world it would be quite reasonable but the third world is about as far from perfect as it gets.
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Old 02-08-07, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
Let's put this in perspective. A modern reverse-osmosis water treatment plant would cost approximately $30 million. We could build 30 of these around the world -- in Africa, in Asia, in Iraq, in South America -- for $1 billion. This year alone, we're budgeting $500 billion to defense. Wouldn't it be a heck of a lot cheaper for us to be proactive, to win back our global reputation, by investing one half of one percent of that defense money to providing clean, potable water for the poorest nations of the world?
Let's put this in perspective, Maybe we can divert that one billion dollars from the 10-15 billion we dole out to the world every year.

Somehow I don't feel it would stop the US haters; they would just be able to have a refreshing glass of water after the flag burning.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyronin
Let's put this in perspective, Maybe we can divert that one billion dollars from the 10-15 billion we dole out to the world every year.

Somehow I don't feel it would stop the US haters; they would just be able to have a refreshing glass of water after the flag burning.
They would destroy the machine, more likely.
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Old 02-08-07, 09:20 PM
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Half the US population lives within 50 miles of either coast, and the population is increasing. Of course there's going to be some water shortage especially in the southwest which has been happening for some time now. I don't believe it's a problem at all for the rest of the nation though.
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