Monday, July 19, 2010

Blue Gold

We worry about our energy supply but there is an interrelated supply that needs our attention as well. Water will be the next source of contention. We've seen the droughts in Africa and water shortages in Georgia but nothing compared to what's about to happen on a larger scale.

Local and state governments have attempted to allocate water rights, but their efforts have been piecemeal and often short-sighted. In the absence of a coherent policy for protecting water resources, supplies are depleted, and what is left becomes more and more polluted by industrial, agricultural, and biological waste products. In fact, the Great Plains is on the brink of a water crisis, a silent crisis that threatens the health of people, environments, and economies.

Here's a pie chart of how we use our water:

As you can see there is a definite interrelationship between water and the production of energy. Our power plants use massive amounts of water and yet with the ever growing demand due to population growth more power plants are due to be built. Then there's the large amounts used in the production of coal, gas and oil. To add insult to injury we're removing about 4% more water than is being replenished.
The planet is 3/4 water but less than about 1% is usable. Desalinization you say? That takes a large amount of energy which in turn takes a large amount of water.

(From a Dept. of Energy report)
Competition for fresh water is already limiting energy production. For example, Georgia Power lost a bid to draw water from the Chattahoochee River, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered a Massachusetts power plant to reduce its water withdrawals, Idaho has denied water rights requests for several power plants, Duke Power warned Charlotte, NC to reduce its water use, and a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant is planning to use wastewater from coal mines. Other utilities are warning of a power crunch if water availability is reduced.

I'm seeing large corporations buy up water rights and buying city water. They expect me to pay 100 times the rate for the same water I get out of my tap. The plastic bottle which can't be recycled back into bottles costs far more than the water inside. And here's another thing to consider, bottled water isn't checked for chemicals and bacteria but once per week while your water district checks tap water daily.

So you see why energy conservation is more important than ever right now. The more energy we use the more water will be needed to produce that energy and less water for personal use. Note when your paying the bills what's usually one of the smallest bills. Not for long if corporations have their way.

For a real eye opening documentary check out Blue Gold


Randal Graves said...

I don't want the rest of you wankers thinking about trying to steal from my Lake Erie. I've got guns, and plenty of 'em! That's our water!

Demeur said...

Too late Randal the steel mills and power plants have been sucking on Lake Erie for years and the Canadians have been using it as a toilet. Watch out for those Canadian brown fish.

The Blog Fodder said...

The water in the Ogallala aquifer is being depleted rapidly for irrigation of the corn crops. Just for fun, can you check how far down it is today compared to 25 years ago?

I think it is over 1000 feet lower, but don't know exactly.

Demeur said...

Not exactly BF. There are only estimates as to it's demise. The aquifer isn't so much deep as it is large covering many midwestern states. But here's what I found:
The USGS estimated that total water storage was about 2,925 million acre feet (3,608 km³) in 2005. This is a decline of about 253 million acre feet (312 km³) (or 9%) since substantial ground-water irrigation development began, in the 1950s.

an average patriot said...

Yeah water wars are here already and all around the world. I have written about it ad nauseum to no avail
Without a doubt China's obsession over Tibet is not about that Religion but of controlling the Himalayas their and Asia's water source. I have instructed on feeding oneself under duress, making potable water, and survival but I am sure no one has listened and will not until it is too late!

BBC said...

Interesting that you posted this today, although I've been saying it for years.

Still lots of fresh water over here, I can just get some from a creek if I need to but that is beside the point, others will come after it someday I fear.

Anyway, I've never had plumbed in water here, just rain barrels and water I get from Helen's hose.

As a result of that I've never had a shower here, but I do now. Today I rigged up a shower that recycles two gallons (or less) of water in a loop through a filter.

I took a ten minute shower on two gallons of water, pretty cool.

Tim said...

My hats off my friend. This is something that's been (excuse the pun)
floating around in my head for awhile.
I had four pages of rants. I just couldn't find a way to be succinct.
Good job!

S.W. Anderson said...

I read somewhere awhile back that a big French corporation is buying up water rights here, there and everywhere, including in the U.S. I think it said that outfit has the largest holdings of water utilties in the world.

I'm sure the next Bush-type president will be only too happy to nudge things along by doing all he or she can to defund or otherwise put the squeeze on cities, so in desperation they will sell off their water utilties.

Ranch Chimp said...

This was a good read for me, since I dont even know where the Hell we currently stand on any of this, or have looked into it. Thanx Mr.Demeur .... but frankly ... at the point where we are now ... I dont have much faith that the power's of energy, water, oil or any of it, are going to stop a damn thing unless we get strict, and when I talk like that .... folk's call me a socialist or a commi who's anti business.( well at least alot of fellow Texan's do) :(

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