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1970: The year of peak... water?
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ShortcutToMoncton
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May 25, 2010, 03:55 PM
 
Interesting article over on Ars about a recent study on water usage in the USA. Although data record isn't perfect, they think it suggests that the country might have hit a "peak water" situation in the 1970s sometime. Water use paralleled GDP/population for most of the 20th century until about 1970, after which they separated and the rate of increase of water use began to slow. WU peaked around 1975 and then declined slightly, before remaining roughly constant while GDP and population continue to increase.

Anyways, with all the back-and-forth about peak oil and renewable energy and oil that's continuously formed underneath the crust and all that, I thought it was an interesting bit about a renewable resource that much of the developed world doesn't worry too much about. I know it's a bigger concern in many areas of the US, but up here in Canada it's really not had much of an impact except in specific areas - we are at/amongst the top of the pack in available water per capita/country area.

I've read some interesting things on water use in the Caribbean, particularly where there's a lot of resort hotels (e.g. Mexico, Cuba, etc.) - apparently they're going to be in a world of hurt when they finally drain their freshwater aquifiers they've tapped into....

greg
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mduell
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May 27, 2010, 12:39 PM
 
Peak stone, peak bronze, peak wood for heating, peak whale oil... and yet the world moves on.
     
Warren Pease
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May 27, 2010, 12:55 PM
 
I guess the question for me about Peak Water in the US is, how much more water can we use than we aren't already? We probably have more golf courses than we know what to do with. Fifteen minute showers are a daily ritual for many. We have fountains running 24 hours a day whose purpose is solely aesthetic. Yards are watered daily in areas that don't natively support green grass, etc.

As a whole, we haven't been using more water because to do so would mean inventing new ways to waste it.

Peak Oil (in the US) happened in the 1970's as well, and it hasn't restricted our consumption of it in anyway.
     
Zeeb
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May 27, 2010, 04:46 PM
 
You should check out the documentary "Blue Gold: World Water Wars". It's touches on this very topic and it appears that certain parts of the world--including the southwest U.S. is in for a world of hurt in the next 20 years or so. It turns out that many major cities in the world have "privatized" their water supply by partnering with corporations that have then turned around and sold the water back to those places--at much higher prices. In Bolivia, the situation got so bad that these companies got the government to make it illegal for their citizens to even collect rainwater.
     
OldManMac
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May 28, 2010, 12:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
You should check out the documentary "Blue Gold: World Water Wars". It's touches on this very topic and it appears that certain parts of the world--including the southwest U.S. is in for a world of hurt in the next 20 years or so. It turns out that many major cities in the world have "privatized" their water supply by partnering with corporations that have then turned around and sold the water back to those places--at much higher prices. In Bolivia, the situation got so bad that these companies got the government to make it illegal for their citizens to even collect rainwater.
But, but, that's just capitalism at work, isn't it?
     
aristotles
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May 28, 2010, 01:09 AM
 
Water disappearing? I think not. Consumption is increasing but water is recycled through the drainage into the ocean, evaporation and rain fall.

Changing weather patterns may cause the rainfall to shift but it still falls somewhere.
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smacintush
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May 29, 2010, 03:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by aristotles View Post
Water disappearing? I think not. Consumption is increasing but water is recycled through the drainage into the ocean, evaporation and rain fall.

Changing weather patterns may cause the rainfall to shift but it still falls somewhere.
People always forget to add the term "clean" before "water" with this type of issue.
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OldManMac
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May 29, 2010, 09:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
People always forget to add the term "clean" before "water" with this type of issue.
Exactly.

People think that clean, untainted, water is an inexhaustible resource. We're going to find out soon that it isn't. Outside of the "developed" world, they already know that; we're going to see what it's like to have to pay for water from Nestle, and Coca Cola, etc., and then we're all going to be scratching our heads, wondering what happened.
     
smacintush
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May 29, 2010, 03:06 PM
 
I'm not real worried about my well drying up anytime soon. The rest of you can suck it.
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OldManMac
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May 29, 2010, 03:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
I'm not real worried about my well drying up anytime soon. The rest of you can suck it.
I have a well also. That doesn't mean it can't be polluted. There are towns in Michigan where the well water is unusable, because of septic tank sewage and industrial chemical dumping. Many of our cities' water systems are now polluted from discarded medicines, as well. I've said this before; water will be the next liquid gold.

It's all a part of our throw-away culture; we just haven't learned yet that we're going to pay for that freedom.
     
smacintush
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May 29, 2010, 04:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
I have a well also. That doesn't mean it can't be polluted. There are towns in Michigan where the well water is unusable, because of septic tank sewage and industrial chemical dumping. Many of our cities' water systems are now polluted from discarded medicines, as well. I've said this before; water will be the next liquid gold.

It's all a part of our throw-away culture; we just haven't learned yet that we're going to pay for that freedom.
I suppose.

I for one have zero fear of this. I have no reason to believe that anything like this will be an issue in my area and if it was, I have no fear of any real effects of it being a threat. Environmental paranoia doesn't suit me.

Even so, if it's not these "toxins" it'll be air pollution; if not that it'll be fast food and soda; if not that it'll be swine flu, bird flu, mad cow, SARS or monkey pox; if not that it'll be a cell phone related auto accident; or a terrorist attack; or a super-duper-mega-tornado due to global warming; or second-hand smoke; or Mr. Smiley; or effects of the oil spill; or a nuclear meltdown; or nuclear winter; or UV from the ozone hole; or mercury from my fillings; or RBST; or genetically altered crops; or too much sodium; or long work hours…
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CollinG3G4
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May 29, 2010, 08:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post

Even so, if it's not these "toxins" it'll be air pollution; if not that it'll be fast food and soda; if not that it'll be swine flu, bird flu, mad cow, SARS or monkey pox; if not that it'll be a cell phone related auto accident; or a terrorist attack; or a super-duper-mega-tornado due to global warming; or second-hand smoke; or Mr. Smiley; or effects of the oil spill; or a nuclear meltdown; or nuclear winter; or UV from the ozone hole; or mercury from my fillings; or RBST; or genetically altered crops; or too much sodium; or long work hours…
Reading that gave me cancer.
     
Montezuma58
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May 29, 2010, 08:41 PM
 
Alabama, Georgia, and Florida have been fighting over water rights on the Chattahoochee river for a while now. And these are some of the most non arid regions of the country. Georgia is even contesting its northern border with Tennessee which due to errors by surveyors years ago cheated Georgia out of very small piece to the Tennessee River.
     
ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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May 30, 2010, 11:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Even so, if it's not these "toxins" it'll be air pollution; if not that it'll be fast food and soda; if not that it'll be swine flu, bird flu, mad cow, SARS or monkey pox; if not that it'll be a cell phone related auto accident; or a terrorist attack; or a super-duper-mega-tornado due to global warming; or second-hand smoke; or Mr. Smiley; or effects of the oil spill; or a nuclear meltdown; or nuclear winter; or UV from the ozone hole; or mercury from my fillings; or RBST; or genetically altered crops; or too much sodium; or long work hours…
Great stuff, and all true, but there's also something to be said about making contingency plans for problems.



greg
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OldManMac
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May 30, 2010, 11:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
I suppose.

I for one have zero fear of this. I have no reason to believe that anything like this will be an issue in my area and if it was, I have no fear of any real effects of it being a threat. Environmental paranoia doesn't suit me.

Even so, if it's not these "toxins" it'll be air pollution; if not that it'll be fast food and soda; if not that it'll be swine flu, bird flu, mad cow, SARS or monkey pox; if not that it'll be a cell phone related auto accident; or a terrorist attack; or a super-duper-mega-tornado due to global warming; or second-hand smoke; or Mr. Smiley; or effects of the oil spill; or a nuclear meltdown; or nuclear winter; or UV from the ozone hole; or mercury from my fillings; or RBST; or genetically altered crops; or too much sodium; or long work hours…
All valid points, to a degree. The one issue that we can't sidestep, however, is that water is the underlying source of our life. Some of us will develop cancer, some will die of heart attacks, and various other causes. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it will always be. All of us, however require clean water to have a chance at a long, and healthy, life. In undeveloped countries, thousands of people die daily, simply because they lack access to clean water. We have the ability to rectify that situation, and see that it doesn't occur here.
     
el chupacabra
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May 30, 2010, 11:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
It turns out that many major cities in the world have "privatized" their water supply by partnering with corporations that have then turned around and sold the water back to those places--at much higher prices. In Bolivia, the situation got so bad that these companies got the government to make it illegal for their citizens to even collect rainwater.

It is illegal in many parts of the US to collect rain water as well. Most people don't know this... until they get caught trying to collect it.

Denver is one place some one I know got in trouble for collecting rain water on their property. And here in Houston it is usually illegal as well depending on your development.

This collaboration by the government and corporations to take control of our water and sell it to us for a high price is something I fear much worse than running out of clean water. Here in Texas we are already having problems. In Texas when you have the rights to a property you can suck as much water as you want from that property...no limit. So the wealthy, oil tycoons and such are soaking up as many water rights as they can and investing in huge pumps that pull so much water that it drains all their neighbor's wells, and then they're pipelining it to desert cities hundreds of miles away.

I find it relatively easy to clean water. The problem is going to be in the future, do you have the right to take it from big corporation or big government? whether it's dirty or clean?
the largest problem for Americans today is they eat too much food and dont have enough work to do to keep their heart healthy
     
turtle777
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May 31, 2010, 12:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
I've said this before; water will be the next liquid gold.
I agree.

Has anybody here suggestions how to profit from "peak water" ?

I recently ran across this fund: Pictet Water Fund

Pictet - Institutional Asset Management | New Pictet fund targets listed companies and private equity in water-related industries

-t
     
   
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