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Rajiv
04-13-09, 12:59 AM
Peak Water - Has Come and Gone Unnoticed (http://www.twilightearth.com/2009/04/peak-water-has-come-and-gone-unnoticed/)


When will “Peak Water” hit, or has it already peaked while going mostly unnoticed?

Guest Article by Bob Williamsom

Author of ‘ZERO Greenhouse Emissions

Fossil water reserves built up in ancient underground aquifers will run dry, we are being told. In fifteen of some of the world’s most populous nations, it is already underway. In the United States the vast Ogallala aquifer was being overexploited. Under the North China Plain and in Saudi Arabia, unsustainable depletion is well underway. Over-pumping of aquifers is happening in Iran, Israel and Jordan, India and Pakistan, Mexico, Morocco and Spain, Tunisia and Syria, in the Yemen and South Korea.

We must ask; when will the water refugees start to migrate? When will the citizens of the cities’ toilets and showers run dry? Which water domino will fall first? Is this lifeblood supply of water to be stopped for agriculture and irrigation, allowing it to wilt and die? Will our tap be turned off for the industrial model we have built our economic lives around? Will we feed ourselves or the machines of industry?

Lake Chad, once viewed by astronauts from space, no longer appears in their windows, shrinking some 95 percent since 1960. Will it one day need renaming just like the “Snows of Kilimanjaro” or the Glacier National Park in the United States will?
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Australia is gripped by repeated and regular droughts and crumbling agricultural infrastructure. The Murray Darling river system is in crisis, so much so that irrigation for agriculture was not be allocated in 2007. With the drought in Queensland so severe, and with water restrictions for its citizens, the government reduced supplies to coal-fired power stations in 2007. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in the United States reports that coal-fired plants use approximately 3,400 litres of cooling water per megawatt hour.

On the other side of the world in the summer of 2006, nuclear energy plants in France, Germany, Sweden, and Spain were given a similar water domino push. Nuclear reactors’ water cooling supply of 3,776 litres of freshwater needed per megawatt hour sourced from nearby rivers was too warm due to soaring temperatures associated with climate change, leading to reduced output and a restriction of energy supplies.

Will natural gas-powered plants supply any relief, when they too need 2,730 litres per megawatt hour? How will China sustain the construction of two additional coal-fired plants per week and from where will the water come? The water supply problem is also creating concern for nuclear power generation in the United States in 2007. The Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant was forced into partial shutdown as the Tennessee River at Athens, Alabama hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit while record air temperatures were increasing demand for its power in Memphis and Nashville. The Union of Concerned Scientists reported that due to drought during the past two years, nuclear power plants in Michigan, Minnesota, and Illinois had also scaled back operations, while the U.S. Federal Energy Information Administration was predicting an increasing energy demand by 2030 of 40 percent above today’s levels, as population grows by a further 70 million. Where will the water come from?





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GRG55
04-13-09, 02:08 AM
Peak Water - Has Come and Gone Unnoticed (http://www.twilightearth.com/2009/04/peak-water-has-come-and-gone-unnoticed/) </EMBED>


Some people need to get a life...



The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in the United States reports that coal-fired plants use approximately 3,400 litres of cooling water per megawatt hour.

This sort of statement makes it sound as though a coal fired power plant "uses" water the same way it uses it's fuel source. It's not the same thing. The water is not consumed, it does not change state, it is not permanently altered never to be available for use by mankind ever again, unlike a fossil fuel. It is merely a convenient means to reject excess heat from the plant to the atmosphere.

Don't we have enough legitimate crises without having to invent something as ridiculous as "peak water"?

Rajiv
04-13-09, 04:27 AM
Some people need to get a life...

Don't we have enough legitimate crises without having to invent something as ridiculous as "peak water"?

Please do your research -- peak water is a very real issue -- all water is not infinitely recyclable -- when you drill wells for water, it is mostly water mining. Aquifer recharge rates are a fraction of the rate at which they are being depleted. And over all, Fresh water is quite limited in its availability compared to the amounts that are needed.

Agricultural water is typically not recyclable -- and is single use only. So is drinking water. These are all competing uses for water. Water is used to make steam to generate electricity, and needs to be of fairly good quality (http://www.metts.com.au/Desalination_and_Power_Gen.html). Also while co-generation and steam/water recycling are used, there are invariable losses from the system. Roughly one an a half tonnes of steam are used per megawatt hour of generated electricity, compared with 100 liters of oil (in an oil fired power plant). Cooling water is however not immediately recycled and needs to be cooled sufficiently before it can be reused either in the same plant, or further downstream by other power plants. Power plants are shut down, or powered down if the intake water is too warm.

vanvaley1
04-13-09, 05:26 AM
We've got a planet that's 70% water and we're short of water. Somebody needs to sit down with a penguin and ask em how they convert seawater to fresh water for their water needs.

The California aquifers are also causing ground subsidence in this state. Anybody wanta come up with an idea how to harvest Antarctic and Greenland melt run-off? Maybe all those ships just sitting around doing nothing might be of use?

Rajiv
04-13-09, 08:42 AM
Somebody needs to sit down with a penguin and ask em how they convert seawater to fresh water for their water needs.

Do you mean "Fish Powered Desalinization Plants?"

GRG55
04-13-09, 09:45 AM
Please do your research -- peak water is a very real issue -- all water is not infinitely recyclable -- when you drill wells for water, it is mostly water mining. Aquifer recharge rates are a fraction of the rate at which they are being depleted. And over all, Fresh water is quite limited in its availability compared to the amounts that are needed.

Agricultural water is typically not recyclable -- and is single use only. So is drinking water. These are all competing uses for water. Water is used to make steam to generate electricity, and needs to be of fairly good quality (http://www.metts.com.au/Desalination_and_Power_Gen.html). Also while co-generation and steam/water recycling are used, there are invariable losses from the system. Roughly one an a half tonnes of steam are used per megawatt hour of generated electricity, compared with 100 liters of oil (in an oil fired power plant). Cooling water is however not immediately recycled and needs to be cooled sufficiently before it can be reused either in the same plant, or further downstream by other power plants. Power plants are shut down, or powered down if the intake water is too warm.

Once again Rajiv, the description [losses from systems, etc] leaves the incorrect impression that the water is somehow permanently "lost". It is not. The steam losses, for example, may be in the form of vapour instead of liquid, but the water is still with us and the water is eventually returned back to earth in the form of rain, snow, or sleet once it condenses and precipitates. No different from the water "losses" from transpiration from plants.

The problem is much more a mis-allocation of the readily available "cheap water". How else to explain such insanities as the Federal Water Project that allows the growing of rice in the Sacramento River valley only because of taxpayer subsidized irrigation? Makes no more sense than the Saudi's growing alfalfa in the desert [again using ground water and irrigation pivots] to feed dairy cattle so they can be "self sufficient" in that food group. That we choose to contaminate large amounts of our readily accessible water with industrial and agricultural effluents is shameful, but it does not mean this water is somehow "lost". It just means that our own actions make it unavailable for a variety of uses. But it's still there. And over time it will go through the usual evaporation/transpiration/condensation/precipitation cycle we all learned in grade school, and the contaminants will be concentrated somewhere in our ecosystem [bottom sediments? fish? mammals? ...].

Cooling water is used because it is abundant and cheap. I am well aware of the outlet temperature issues related to power plant cooling water, particularly in the summer season is many jurisdictions . But absolutely none of those arguments have anything to do with somehow "losing" the water. It's still there when it comes out of the plant heat exchangers. There are other ways to reject excess heat to the atmosphere. They cost more, and will raise the price of our electricity. But there is nothing difficult or exotic to applying them if necessary. But applying them won't change the amount of water available, it just reallocates how we use it.

Water [I]is infinitely recyclable. It's been that way through the eons, long before man inhabited this planet. And unless the planet is somehow destroyed, it'll be going on long after man disappears forever...

alcyone
04-13-09, 09:50 AM
This is no joke...

According to a recent study by the World Wildlife Fund; as a result of human activity and exploitation, the Earth lost nearly one-third of its available natural wealth between 1970 and 1995 – more than in any other period in history. There have been significant declines in many critical resources including forest cover, marine fisheries, freshwater systems and fossil fuels. The world’s supply of certain key resources are being depleted at a pace exceeding our capacity to exploit new sources or develop substitute materials. Of the various materials that fall into this category, the most significant because they are essential to human survival are Oil and Water. The world is expected to experience critical shortages in these resources by the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

Case in point:

Water cut off in Mexican capital in forum [GeoPoliticsNews]
Mexico City officials have shut down a main pipeline providing fresh water to millions of residents because reserves have fallen to record low levels.

More than 50% of the water carried by the pipeline leaks out before it reaches its destination.

Mexico City was once a floating city, built on a spectacular chain of volcanic lakes, and flooding used to be its main environmental threat.

But since the lakes were finally drained in the 1960s, the city has been struggling with its water supply, our correspondent says.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/coun....

strittmatter
04-13-09, 10:21 AM
You both make valid points guys.

Not one drop of water has been "lost" since day one. It just changes form, moves around, yada yada.

There are and have been fairly significant changes taking place as far as movement and specific availability. Here in north texas for example, the artisian aquifer known as the Trinity formation, has demonstrated static level decreases of as much as 500' within the past 10 years. In the early 1900's many Trinity wells around here actually flowed. Most of the wells I complete here are in the Trinity, so I have first hand knowledge of the drawdown changes taking place. It's not something that's happening "overnight" but nonetheless...................all aquifers still "work" as they always have, however the recharge/pumpage unbalance is ever increasing.

Desalination is of course highly inefficient, requires vast amounts of horsepower/energy. That's not to say it doesn't work, just very costly or still percieved to be at present due to other source avialability.

At any rate, I can certainly see an expanding filtration industry going forward.

ricket
04-13-09, 04:36 PM
Desalination is of course highly inefficient, requires vast amounts of horsepower/energy. That's not to say it doesn't work, just very costly or still percieved to be at present due to other source avialability.


Actually, desalination is a quite easy and free mechanism on a smaller scale. Did you ever watch "The Voyage of the Mimi"? They teach you how to desalinate water if you are stuck in the ocean using just the sun, a reservoir filled with salt water, and some plastic. If a typical person builds enough of these in an array, then they could probably provide enough "desalinated" water for themselves to survive.

Edit: it's called a Solar Still
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_still

vanvaley1
04-13-09, 07:20 PM
Do you mean "Fish Powered Desalinization Plants?"

Penguin powered. Some eons ago I read or saw or stumbled across a piece of information that said that penguins would process sea water into fresh water for their biological use. Don't know how they do it. Be nice if somebody figured it out and some engineers could use their skills to do it efficiently and inexpensively for the rest of us. Or...have the medical community learn how to transplant a penguin to our liver. Water problem solved. Personally, I favor the first solution. I don't look good in penguin.

How come Canada won't sell us their water? They've a ton of it in on the west coast that just dumps into the Pacific. Or my favorite...create jobs by putting in place a water transfer system in the US. Each year different sections of the US get too much water or too little water. Causes billions of dollars in flood and crop loss. I wouldn't mind my insurance costs going down and at this point in US history I'm sure there's a bunch of folks that wouldn't mind digging ditches for a living...not to mention all those extraneous useless guys: engineers, administrators, etc. Just redirect the stuff where its needed. Didn't FDR have a huge water resource program drawn up that was never completely implemented cuz of the war? Bet those plans are still sitting on some shelf in some US warehouse. If the Libyans can come up with a water resource transfer program and the Califorians can do it then the US can do it again...TVA, Hoover Dam, etc. And if they're smart about it they'll figure a way to generate a lot of electricity along the way. An Internet buddy found an article that showed how water forced through a bottle neck in a piping system could be used to create affordable electricity.

Never mind. It's more important to keep cash flowing than water flowing...no? Just ask any bankster.

Rajiv
04-13-09, 11:57 PM
Yes solar stills are simple and easy, and work quite well, if made of non toxic material (non toxic black paint mainly) -- I have worked with these at various times.

However, Industrial scale desalinization is a totally different beast!

Rajiv
04-14-09, 12:08 AM
Fish powered desalinsation is in fact right!

from Penguins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penguin)


They can drink salt water because their supraorbital gland filters excess salt from the bloodstream. The salt is excreted in a concentrated fluid from the nasal passages.

Not too different from the reverse osmosis used in current desalinization practice

vanvaley1
04-14-09, 12:57 AM
Fish powered desalinsation is in fact right!

from Penguins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penguin)



Not too different from the reverse osmosis used in current desalinization practice

This sounds like a job for SuperDNAman. Though blowing salt through my nose ain't exactly an appealling sight. Bit painful too. "Penguins seem to have no special fear of humans..." They've obviously never met our congress, wall streeters, and lobbyist. Thanks for the info.