There is no water shortage
Water: The next political frontier
By Dr. Tim Ball
Thursday, November 4, 2010
There is no shortage of water. Amounts available vary regionally and change over time as precipitation amounts vary. Demand also changes with increases in population and economic development. Crude estimates indicate water use per person is 15 liters in undeveloped countries and approximately 900 liters in developed countries. Throughout history humans have developed remarkable techniques and technologies to deal with these issues. Few of these attempted to reduce demand, most worked to increase supply.
Some societies went to great lengths. The extent of the Roman Empire is delineated by the construction of aqueducts and lead mines developed to produce pipes to carry their water.
Major advances, considered important turning points in human development, are technological controls over weather. Fire, housing and clothing created microclimates and the ability to live in more extreme conditions. Irrigation was first introduced in the Fertile Crescent (Figure1) driven by a climate change. A region that produced crops gradually became drier with the onset of a warm period called the Holocene Optimum. Besides the decrease in precipitation there is, at least initially, an increase in variability.
Figure 1: The Fertile Crescent. Source:
The objective is to stabilize supply so that plants get the moisture they need to suit their growth pattern. The contradiction is that as the supply decreases the demand increases.
One list of the top 20 weather disasters of the 20th century illustrates the contradiction. It was dominated by two extremes, droughts and flooding. Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote to the contradictions in the Ancient Mariner,
Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
It’s the problem for those who claim there is water shortage or that supply is threatened. It’s estimated there’s enough in Lake Superior for total US demand for a year. Compare this with the volume in the oceans, but that’s the Mariners contradiction. Many suggest the oceans have an almost unlimited supply, but this raises the second issue with supply, namely quality. Plants and animals require a certain quality of water, few more demanding than humans. Before we can use ocean water we have to remove the salt. Our tongues are a sensor to protect us from ingesting too much salt with an ability to detect 200 parts per million (ppm), anything above that level is increasingly dangerous. Average salt content in seawater is 34,000 ppm.
One outcome of the Titanic disaster was the shift to desalination plants on ocean going vessels. The Titanic carried massive volumes of freshwater because large volumes of water are a measure of luxury. When the buoyancy tanks designed to keep the ship afloat were flooded it added dangerously to the onboard water volumes. Desalination requires energy to remove the salt. Surplus heat from the engines, usually vented through the funnels, is readily available.
The energy source is important because it determines the cost of the water. Several systems are operating round the world. They are fuelled by oil, nuclear, and until regulations changed, burning garbage. In the 1980s Japan offered to sell water to Saudi Arabia at a lower cost than desalination even with their oil. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia turned the offer down because they didn’t want to depend on a foreign nation for a primary resource. The Saudi’s recently signed a contract with Japan to facilitate water desalination projects.
Solar energy is not a viable alternate energy because it’s intermittent and requires almost 100% backup. However, like some alternate energies it has specialized applications. The Ancient Mariner’s problem of no drinking water faced pilots who ditched in the ocean during WWII. A simple device was produced to provide adequate water to prevent dehydration. It was an inflatable ring like a child’s paddling pool, but with an inflatable tripod holding up clear plastic panels. Sunlight passed through the plastic, raised the temperature and increased the rate of evaporation. When salt water evaporates it does so as freshwater. This means freshwater condenses on the inside of the clear plastic, where it can trickle down to a collecting channel. Similar vast floating devices could cover stretches of ocean, producing freshwater that is then pumped ashore with energy from solar power. Intermittent energy supply is not a problem because the water is easily stored on land.
Diversion of water through elaborate canals and pipes are the most common systems used by people throughout history. The water system at Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca city high in the Andes, is little known, but one of the most amazing pieces of engineering in a city of engineering marvels. They have also used some amazing ways of tapping into supplies. For example, a series of shafts go down to the water table where they connect a tunnel that taps the groundwater. They are called Qanats and are found from China to the Middle East, and Galeria in Mexico and Central America (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Cross-section through a Qanat.
Some Qanats are centuries old and many are being brought back into use or expanded.
Other ideas include using oil tankers to draw fresh water directly from the ocean surface off the coast of Brazil. The volume of flow in the Amazon is so great that there is fresh water up to 200 km offshore.
People living in naturally dry areas usually drive other ideas proposed for obtaining more water. A major part of the population shift in the US is from the wet east to the dry west driven by Horace Greeley’s suggestion to go west young man. Few regions have extended their tentacles further to tap water supply than Southern California. It’s not surprising they were a region, followed by Saudi Arabia and Australia, to investigate towing icebergs from Antarctica. The idea is to carve off pieces of shelf ice, the source of large tabular icebergs. These frequently break away as the glacier advances into the ocean. Estimates are that 50 percent of the glacier would melt in passage. At its destination it is beached, surrounded with a plastic curtain to contain the melt-water that is then pumped ashore.
There are no water shortages. There are regions of deficit and surplus and these amounts change over time. Water is not lost. If taken out of the system in one place it is ultimately returned. Israel is one country that has assessed its water supply and done more with technology to maximize use. In most other regions governments have taken pride in providing water without a thought to the real value. It is probably the ultimate entitlement.*******
Climate Change Hysteria Falters. Water Is The New Target
A sign of desperation is the shift to much larger targets
By Dr. Tim Ball
Monday, November 1, 2010
Self-proclaimed environmentalists and people who use the environment as a vehicle for political control, often the same people, have not quite destroyed environmentalism.
They are running out of exotic scares as coral bleaching, ocean acidification and a multitude of other claims prove unwarranted.
A sign of desperation is the shift to much larger targets, but they pose the problem that people know a little more and basic questions raise immediate doubts.
Water is the latest target. More and more stories about running out of water appear. Most are linked to the false claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that droughts will increase in severity with global warming. It’s illogical because higher temperatures mean increased evaporation and more moisture in the air to create precipitation, but that doesn’t stop them. It’s part of the ongoing standard chain that links too many people with too many demands on limited resources causing environment collapse. The real goal is total political control, the shut down of industry and ultimately elimination of people.
Water Is Not A Problem
There is no shortage. As with climate and all the other issues used to panic people, there is lack of information and understanding. I know from chairing public hearings on water how it raises passions. Wars have been fought and future conflicts are possible because of the unequal distribution, but none of this is necessary.
Science incorrectly assumes the oceans have remained essentially unchanged for 600 million years. The theory is that as the Earth cooled the various elements settled out in layers according their specific gravity. Water is used as the base with a specific gravity of one. The error of the claim of constant volume is that every time a volcano erupts more water vapor is released into the atmosphere adding to the total.
There is another contentious claim that water comes from space.
“The main discoverer of the cosmic snowstorm, Dr. Louis A. Frank, whose initial hypothesis was ridiculed when he presented it in 1986, now says with great confidence that the terrestrial bombardment could easily have supplied all the planet’s water and perhaps also many of the chemicals that are essential for life.” “If the flux has been similar over geologic time, say, over four billion years, then it very closely accounts for the oceans we have now, including the ice caps,” Dr. Frank, a physicist at the University of Iowa, said in an interview.” Evidence of water on the moon seems to support this theory.
The Water Cycle
So there is no agreement on how water is on the planet. Measures of the amounts and distributions are also totally inadequate. Approximately 97 percent is salt water and 3 percent freshwater, and there is constant movement between the two.
Figure 1: The Water Cycle showing the general flow of water in the Earth System.
Figure 1 shows the general pattern of water disposition and movement known as the Water Cycle. We have no real measures of the distribution of the freshwater other than general percentages about the amount in glaciers, lakes and groundwater. There are inadequate measures of flow in most rivers and even fewer for groundwater volumes and flows. A major component of the system that drives transfer of heat from the surplus in the tropics to the deficit in the Polar Regions is evaporation, transport and condensation.
Solar energy strikes the surface in the tropics and most of the energy is absorbed, but a portion is used to increase the rate of evaporation. The energy is not lost but stored as latent energy in the water vapor molecule. Most of this occurs in great cloud developments called cumulonimbus or thunderstorm clouds. These are massive systems, but the grid system of the computer models is so crude that they cannot be encompassed. The water vapor is transported and released back into the atmosphere when condensation occurs. This is why temperature rises when it rains or snows. The energy in all its forms is carried up and distributed poleward by upper level winds.
Global temperature data is grossly inadequate, precipitation measures are even worse. The modern record is virtually non-existent and historic record worse. Consider this comment about Africa. “One obvious problem is a lack of data. Africa’s network of 1152 weather watch stations, which provide real-time data and supply international climate archives, is just one-eighth the minimum density recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Furthermore, the stations that do exist often fail to report.”
The quote is an article about trying to predict the critical monsoon in the Sahel region of Africa. Climate scientists cannot say what has delayed the monsoon this year or whether the delay is part of a larger trend. Nor do they fully understand the mechanisms that govern rainfall over the Sahel. Most frustrating, perhaps, is that their prognostic tools— computer simulations of future climate—disagree on what lies ahead.
We’re told the science is settled because they want the public to believe it. A recent request for more data tells you that we know little about the oceans. They are a massive source of moisture and energy and critical for precipitation over the land. “Scientists are urging governments around the world to invest in a ocean-based system that could provide warnings of droughts, floods and other environmental disasters.” “Trevor Platt, a marine biologist with the Partnership for Observation of Global Oceans, says the system of devices would cost up to $15 billion.” So too much water, flooding, or too little, drought, are not adequately measured. No wonder the IPCC computer model predictions of the climate are wrong every single time.
Water is very attractive to alarmists and those who seek bigger government because it is so fundamental to life. It is the one resource that essentially remains classified as a public good, which means it’s easier for government to control. It’s also why the World Bank is involved in large-scale water projects.*******
Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states as Big Government claims ownership over our waterby Mike Adams
Monday, July 26, 2010
As bizarre as it sounds, laws restricting property owners from "diverting" water that falls on their own homes and land have been on the books for quite some time in many Western states. Only recently, as droughts and renewed interest in water conservation methods have become more common, have individuals and business owners started butting heads with law enforcement over the practice of collecting rainwater for personal use.
Check out this YouTube video of a news report out of Salt Lake City, Utah, about the issue. It's illegal in Utah to divert rainwater without a valid water right, and Mark Miller of Mark Miller Toyota, found this out the hard way.
After constructing a large rainwater collection system at his new dealership to use for washing new cars, Miller found out that the project was actually an "unlawful diversion of rainwater." Even though it makes logical conservation sense to collect rainwater for this type of use since rain is scarce in Utah, it's still considered a violation of water rights which apparently belong exclusively to Utah's various government bodies.
"Utah's the second driest state in the nation. Our laws probably ought to catch up with that," explained Miller in response to the state's ridiculous rainwater collection ban.
Salt Lake City officials worked out a compromise with Miller and are now permitting him to use "their" rainwater, but the fact that individuals like Miller don't actually own the rainwater that falls on their property is a true indicator of what little freedom we actually have here in the U.S. (Access to the rainwater that falls on your own property seems to be a basic right, wouldn't you agree?)
Outlawing rainwater collection in other states
Utah isn't the only state with rainwater collection bans, either. Colorado and Washington also have rainwater collection restrictions that limit the free use of rainwater, but these restrictions vary among different areas of the states and legislators have passed some laws to help ease the restrictions.
In Colorado, two new laws were recently passed that exempt certain small-scale rainwater collection systems, like the kind people might install on their homes, from collection restrictions.
Prior to the passage of these laws, Douglas County, Colorado, conducted a study on how rainwater collection affects aquifer and groundwater supplies. The study revealed that letting people collect rainwater on their properties actually reduces demand from water facilities and improves conservation.
Personally, I don't think a study was even necessary to come to this obvious conclusion. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that using rainwater instead of tap water is a smart and useful way to conserve this valuable resource, especially in areas like the West where drought is a major concern.
Additionally, the study revealed that only about three percent of Douglas County's precipitation ended up in the streams and rivers that are supposedly being robbed from by rainwater collectors. The other 97 percent either evaporated or seeped into the ground to be used by plants.
This hints at why bureaucrats can't really use the argument that collecting rainwater prevents that water from getting to where it was intended to go. So little of it actually makes it to the final destination that virtually every household could collect many rain barrels worth of rainwater and it would have practically no effect on the amount that ends up in streams and rivers.
It's all about control, really
As long as people remain unaware and uninformed about important issues, the government will continue to chip away at the freedoms we enjoy. The only reason these water restrictions are finally starting to change for the better is because people started to notice and they worked to do something to reverse the law.
Even though these laws restricting water collection have been on the books for more than 100 years in some cases, they're slowly being reversed thanks to efforts by citizens who have decided that enough is enough.
Because if we can't even freely collect the rain that falls all around us, then what, exactly, can we freely do? The rainwater issue highlights a serious overall problem in America today: diminishing freedom and increased government control.
Today, we've basically been reprogrammed to think that we need permission from the government to exercise our inalienable rights, when in fact the government is supposed to derive its power from us. The American Republic was designed so that government would serve the People to protect and uphold freedom and liberty. But increasingly, our own government is restricting people from their rights to engage in commonsense, fundamental actions such as collecting rainwater or buying raw milk from the farmer next door.
Today, we are living under a government that has slowly siphoned off our freedoms, only to occasionally grant us back a few limited ones under the pretense that they're doing us a benevolent favor.
Fight back against enslavement
As long as people believe their rights stem from the government (and not the other way around), they will always be enslaved. And whatever rights and freedoms we think we still have will be quickly eroded by a system of bureaucratic power that seeks only to expand its control.
Because the same argument that's now being used to restrict rainwater collection could, of course, be used to declare that you have no right to the air you breathe, either. After all, governments could declare that air to be somebody else's air, and then they could charge you an "air tax" or an "air royalty" and demand you pay money for every breath that keeps you alive.
Think it couldn't happen? Just give it time. The government already claims it owns your land and house, effectively. If you really think you own your home, just stop paying property taxes and see how long you still "own" it. Your county or city will seize it and then sell it to pay off your "tax debt." That proves who really owns it in the first place... and it's not you!
How about the question of who owns your body? According to the U.S. Patent & Trademark office, U.S. corporations and universities already own 20% of your genetic code. Your own body, they claim, is partially the property of someone else.
So if they own your land, your water and your body, how long before they claim to own your air, your mind and even your soul?
Unless we stand up against this tyranny, it will creep upon us, day after day, until we find ourselves totally enslaved by a world of corporate-government collusion where everything of value is owned by powerful corporations -- all enforced at gunpoint by local law enforcement.
Water - Taken for Granted? (Part 1)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008