If water is not managed better, today’s crisis will become a catastrophe.
As water becomes ever more scant the world needs to conserve it, use it more efficiently. Researchers from MIT predict that by 2050, more than half of humanity will live in water-stressed areas, where people are now extracting unsustainable amounts from available freshwater sources. We can expect a water crisis that will go viral into a catastrophe if we continue with business as usual.
Many people have a strong moral aversion to paying for the life-sustaining liquid. Some feel that water is a right, and should therefore be free. Others lobby governments to subsidize its distribution to favored groups. This results in vast, but preventable waste.
To make matters worse, few places price water properly. Usually, it is artificially cheap, because politicians are scared to charge much for something essential that falls from the sky. This means that consumers have little incentive to conserve it and investors have little incentive to build pipes and other infrastructure to bring it to where it is needed most.
Researchers from MIT predict that by 2050, more than half of humanity will live in water-stressed areas, where people are now extracting unsustainable amounts from available freshwater sources.
One reason is that as the world’s population grows larger and richer, it uses more water. Another is climate change, which accelerates hydrologic cycles, making wet places wetter and dry places drier. The World Resources Institute found that 33 face extremely high water stress by 2040 (see map).
And as the global population rises from 7.4 bn to close to 10 bn by the middle of the century, it is estimated that agricultural production will have to rise by 60% to fill the world’s bellies. This will put water supplies under huge strain.
In many countries people can pump as much water as they like from underground aquifers, because rules are either lax or not enforced. But it is unsustainable: around a fifth of the world’s aquifers are over-exploited.
People do not drink much water—only a few liters a day. But putting food on their tables requires floods of the stuff. Growing 1 lb of wheat takes 125 gallons of water; fattening a cow to produce the same weight of beef involves 12 times more. Overall, agriculture accounts for more than 70% of global freshwater withdrawals. Farmers in parched places grow thirsty cash crops such as avocados, which could easily be imported from somewhere wetter.
In many places water demand is high and the quality is also at risk: as in many of the most stressed watersheds, it is often compromised by pollution. A polluted water source increases the risk of sickness not just of the environment but of the people and communities that depend on it for their survival.
If a watershed becomes polluted, it not only carries contaminated water to poison humans and animals that consume it, but it also infects the soil and the trees in the surrounding areas, disturbing the whole ecosystem. We are more vulnerable to an unhealthy watershed, as we depend on its soil to cultivate foods and on animals to feed us.
The majority of water-intensive industries, such as coal mining, textiles and chemicals, are found in countries that are particularly prone to water shortages: China, Australia, America and India. Industry can increase strains on supplies too, by polluting water, making it unfit for human use. Over a third of China’s waterways have been spoiled by industrial effluent and other pollutants.
The big drivers of this are the world’s increased desire for grain, meat and manufactured goods. Crops, cows and factories all need lots of water.
TRADABLE WATER RIGHTS
It has been documented for 100 years that the “price” of water is the problem, and that human efforts to control it actually exacerbate the problem. The key to managing water better is to price it properly, giving consumers a reason not to waste it and investors an incentive to build infrastructure to supply it.
Before water can be properly priced, however, it needs to be clear who owns it or who has the right to extract how much from rivers and aquifers. Australia has led the way in creating such a system of tradable water rights.
To create tradable water rights, Australia first drew up a baseline for water use, taking into consideration past commercial, social and environmental needs. Next, old water rights were replaced with shares that granted holders or landowners a proportion of any annual allocations. A regulatory board makes sure that all users get as much as they are entitled to.
Allocations made to shareholders are tradable, but those receiving them can also store them for the future. A holder can have more water only if someone else is prepared to have less. Two markets for trading have been created: one in which shares are exchanged, and another for allocations of water in a given year.
Often, the big problems the world is facing can cause the average person to feel paralyzed: we think that really big problems require really big solutions, and that nothing we can do as individuals could possibly make a difference.
- Chile had planned to build a $3.85 billion pipeline, which involves laying a 600 mile (1000 km) undersea pipeline to carry fresh water to the north at a cost of $3.85 million/km: $0.49/m³
- The Acqua Atacama project is planned for three construction phases over the five years by the French construction giant Vinci, and the non-profit company, Fundacion Chile. The project has been canceled because of high costs.
How different is the new HUG® technology?
A little known secret is that water never wants to flow in a straight line as in the case of present pipelines. The molecules of water want to align itself in a vortex not unlike how the water leaves your bathtub — in a whirlpool configuration. So the new technology simply creates an environment where the water flows in a corkscrew fashion, but at four times the speed and with little or no friction. The sides of the pipeline have similar striations as found in the rifling contours inside the barrel of a rifle.
Presently, excess fresh water is wasted as it flows into the ocean. Present technology of water transfer is limited to 80 km between pumping stations. No one has considered the possibility of transferring fresh water through the ocean over a distance of ten times that limitation of 80 km. One can float these pipelines at a depth of 30 meters in an ocean environment, which allows one country to sell its excess water to another country over a long distance.
This fresh water pipeline is extruded directly into the ocean from a barge or from a sea shore without any welding required.
- The new patented pipeline, called the HUG, require little or no huge water pumps. This seamless water pipeline, encourages a laminar flow with little or no friction.
- This old pipeline system requires several expensive large dimension water pumps and water reservoirs along its pathway with a maximum length of less than 80 km.
A chain of mini-reservoirs served by pumping and used to generate electricity on demand could systematically transfer water around, even (especially) over hilly areas thus evening out supply geographically – and also providing the energy capacity for sinking irregularly available electrical supply. The rate of flow would not necessarily be high but such a transfer during wet seasons would tide over dry seasons. In the end for both water and electricity it’s all about storage capacity and evening out irregular supply. But people are still thinking of the two issues separately, offering separate solutions when a combined solution would be far more effective.
As water becomes ever more scant the world needs to conserve it, use it more efficiently and establish clear rights over who owns the stuff
HELPING SOLVE THE WORLD’S CARBON POLLUTION
New Trees are the only solution to soaking up Carbon Dioxide:
Our Mission: to help solve the problem of carbon dioxide build up in the world by growing and managing mature forests of foliage, fruit and nut trees that eventually are used in lumber — not firewood. The Carbon Tax Fund supports a Micro finance initiative to support women farmers and their families who will nurture fruit and nut trees over their lifetime. The Net Present Value of each tree is $0.49/tree plus $1.00/tree for auditing and maintenance for 25 years.
A Full Scale Aquaponic Tree Nursery in Africa supported by:
OTHER IMPORTANT LINKS
- An Irrigation System: NORTHydro.com
- A Rabbit and Fish Farm: AfriCAPITALISM.us
- An Agroforestry Intercrop System: LivingWaterIs.com
- The Charitable Arm: SunnyUp.net
- God’s Loveletters: Godloveletters.com
- Thunder of Justice: ThunderofJustice.com
- Microfinance for women: LivingWaterMicroFinance.org
- Deliverance Is: DeliveranceIs.com