In every corner of the globe, we are polluting, diverting, pumping, and wasting our limited supply of fresh water at an expediential level as population and technology grows.
Water wars and huge paradigm shifts are happening now and will get worse, as water supplies below ground dry up, as lakes turn into dust bowls, and as rivers turn into dry gravel beds all across the planet. Dams are not the answer, as they too are unsustainable.
Weather modification can only force 5-10% more moisture out of clouds already there chemically, but cannot create water from nothing. But then one has to deal with the aluminum compounds that sterilize and poison the farm soil or forests. Weather modification can only slow down the inevitable process of water depletion, but it cannot stop or reverse it.
Climate change due to huge increases in global CO2 levels are making water come down in deluges that destroy and flood. Typically after this kind of 100 year storm, no rain falls for the rest of the year, essentially creating catastrophic floods, combined with ravaging droughts. All of these things will get worse, as the CO2 levels increase the moisture level in the air, while increasing the temperatures at the same time. This recipe guarantees more storms, larger storms and longer droughts.
In the book, Elixir, Brian Fagan talks about how groundwater and surface water are in the process of disappearing. What is driving this water depletion? Small and large cities are basically parasites when it comes to water use.
Cities almost universally use more water than can be taken sustainably from their own local area. This means that large cities universally have to ‘steal’ water from other areas, regions, states and/or countries, which in the longer term, will create water wars, where we are now fighting over oil.
For example, in the USA, Los Angeles takes water from areas several states away from where it is located geographically. Palm Springs uses an average of 700 gallons per day, per person, compared to 100 gallons per day in San Francisco for example. Does it make sense to ship water from empty reservoirs in Northern California to Palm Springs, just so they can use it what little water is left to water golf course lawns for a few rich people in a sandy desert?
Huge areas that depend on irrigation to farm are also unsustainable for the same reasons. In the midwest, the Ogallala aquifer draws for farm use are unsustainable. In California, the irrigation water needs that draw on water taken from areas hundreds of miles away is also not sustainable, and would never have even been considered, except that dams stored enough water to make it seem like a reasonable ‘solution’ short term.
FOOD PRODUCTION AND DESERTIFICATION
Another problem with growing foods in deserts is the process of salts building up in the soils, which makes the soils incapable of growing anything. The problem with salt build up in farm soils is huge and growing. Where water is not running out, farms that depend on irrigation are disappearing because of salt buildup in the soil.
There are multiple non sustainable issues around current food production, including the fact that it takes 9 or 10 calories of carbon fuel to produce 1 calorie of food. Chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers and insecticides are all carbon fuel based and non sustainable. They either destroy the soil, the environment or human health, possibly all three at the same time.
Water used to grow crops or raise meat animals is increasingly becoming polluted while being used. Water contaminated with arsenic and or nitrates that result from chemical use on farms is poisoning people who then drink the groundwater. Again, this is not a sustainable process, and has a finite end. Raising one pound of beef uses orders of magnitude more water than growing vegetables, fruit or grain, per pound.
Much of today’s food production results in dead soils, devoid of all minerals, desertification, erosion, deforestation, or combinations of these. All of these things affect the water cycle, and always in a negative manner. Our modern factory food farms are mostly unsustainable in many ways.
However, dams are not the answer, because they are sustainable either. What happens when dams fill up with silt, or they reach the end of their expected lifetimes, which is usually about 50 years after being built?
The average dam can hold back about one, maybe two years of water. When a drought happens and no rain falls at all for several years, what happens? Since the entire water supply infrastructure is built on dams supplying fresh drinking water and farm water supplies, what happens if a drought goes on with no rain for 5, 30 or even 300 years, as has happened historically in many areas globally?
WATER WARS BETWEEN DRIED OUT BIG CITIES AND SMALL TOWNS WITH WATER?
The cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, just to name a few of many cities just like these, cannot exist without taking fresh water from areas or states hundreds of miles away. Los Angeles used up their local water supply completely fairly quickly many years ago. LA first drained Owen’s Lake. LA then drew down the Owens Valley aquifer until it was dry.
Today, Los Angeles takes water from the Colorado River which comes from Lake Perris, 440 miles to the East, while depleting water from two different states. It also takes water from Lake Shasta and other rivers/lakes, hundreds of miles to the North. It also has drawn down the underground water aquifer at an alarming rate. What happens when these other states or areas grow to the point where they need 100% of all of the water produced? What happens if even the local water is not enough for local use, much less exporting it hundreds of miles away?
One solution may be to tap underground water supplies. Fracking is now making the underground water supply problem worse, as detailed in the following linked article.
Water wars between regions are already happening in the political arena, where the strong are taking water from the weak or the small, despite opposition. Water is being taken by force. Water is being transferred by ‘law’ from small towns and weak political areas, to areas where political clout, votes and money rules.
Nature Is Speaking – Penélope Cruz is Water | Conservation International (CI)
Depletion of above ground, below ground and air borne water is not just an American problem. Desertification is happening globally. Where crops used to be grown, nowadays deserts and sand dunes bloom. Fagan says that; “underground aquifers in many places are shrinking so rapidly that NASA satellites are detecting changes in the earth’s gravity.”
What happens when the dams fill up with silt and can no longer hold enough water to fulfill all of the demands placed on them? This process has already started, and some ‘classes’ of water users have had to go without ANY water, in drought years.
Farmers have been making up for the lack of surface water by pumping water from wells, but the groundwater levels are dropping fast, which means this is also not a sustainable answer and there will be an end to this as well, at some point.
CURRENT CARBON AND NUCLEAR ENERGY SOURCES NEED LARGE SUPPLIES OF FRESH WATER
The current energy needs of our civilized world depends 98% on unsustainable energy sources. Coal, gas, nuclear and oil fired plants are all high water using energy producers, compared to wind, solar, geothermal and tides for example. The obsolete, high water using energy sources are now dinosaurs, and global warming will make that painfully obvious. To learn more about how our current energy sources contribute to water pollution, water depletion and water wars, click on the following link;
Water – Why Coal, Gas, Nuclear And Oil Fired Power Plants Are Dead Enders; via @AGreenRoad
Bottom line, where humanity currently gets 95% of it’s energy supply (coal, oil, gas, nuclear) are dead enders for many reasons, not just because of water. As the populations keep growing, supplies shrink, and more water ends up undrinkable due to pollution, or unreachable, that will become more and more obvious. But normalcy bias will tend to work against finding solutions or preparing for anything other than ‘normal’.
Fagan says that; “the world’s supply of freshwater is finite,” but we are treating it as if it were an infinite resource that will never run out. Very few cities, states or nations are making any long term, sustainable water plans. As a result, just like CO2 increase in the global atmosphere, it seems that humankind is in for a lot of suffering and wars over diminishing supplies of water and increasingly polluted water.
The unsustainable sucking sound that you hear cannot continue for much longer. Water is a finite resource. Unless humanity starts planning for seven generations into the future and for such things as natural megadroughts, disaster awaits humanity in the very near future. Within a very short amount of time, none of these systems that are currently still being driven by short term profits, power and control will work anymore. Before much more time passes, we will be facing water wars as climate changes make droughts longer lasting and more severe.
DROUGHTS AND MEGADROUGHTS COMING IN THE FUTURE
Droughts are becoming much more common as the climate changes due to global warming, which results in shifting weather patterns. Areas that were dry are getting much dryer and experiencing record droughts. Areas that were wet are getting deluges of water, such as one year’s worth of water in one day. These droughts will become more than likely become more frequent and more severe over time. Here is how these droughts may affect the US food supply, much of which comes from California…
WILL ALL REMAINING WATER BE PRIVATIZED AND SOLD TO HIGHEST BIDDER?
Humanity will be forced into creating huge paradigm shifts in all societies, or wars will break out over water. As it stands right now, the 1% are positioning themselves to profit from selling privatized water to the highest bidder. Cities are selling off public water utilities controlled by the public, to the 1%, all over the US and the rest of the world. Over 1 billion people don’t have safe, clean water to drink. This number will only rise in the future, unless huge changes are made, quickly.
Privatizing water or air is not sustainable, as water supplies shrink, costs will rise, and conflicts will escalate over the rising profits that the 1% skim the profits from a public that allows this process to happen.
Soon sunlight and air will be privatized, and everyone will have to pay to breathe and have access to the sun. Even life can be sold and privatized. Soon, everyone will have to pay someone else just to live another day. Where is the insanity of privatizing the commons going to end? Does greed and concentration of power have no end?
And as the video above explains, China is importing the fresh, clean water that the US still has, along with the millions of jobs that already went there. Maybe soon, the Indians warning that when the water runs out we will find out that you cannot drink money and you cannot eat gold will come true, if those in power and control do not heed the warnings that Nature is providing.
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