A Conversation for Unfinished Business of the Century
Sumogirl Started conversation Sep 23, 1999
We need to figure out water. This is a resource that should be free, yet, we pay for it. (OK Technically, on your water bill at home - you pay for the disposal of it). But, if you want to drink water, you at this point have to buy it in bottles.
Also, more seriously. This is going to be "the" resource we will run out of early in the next Millenium. I used to think that overpopulation was not going to be a problem (after all, us humans are pretty clever folk and we have always found ways to produce more food to feed the masses.) But, it was pointed out to me earlier this year that we actually have a limited supply of potable water. And, unlike food, we have no way to increase the production of potable water. (at the moment anyway). Without an ample supply of water, we will not actually be able to increase crop production. This is an actual problem.
The population of India is growing fast and it is estimated that they will surpass their sustainable levels in early 2010. Anybody who has studied ecology knows that populations tend to crash when they surpass their sustainable levels.
I am not a doomsayer, but this is a real problem and we need to figure out how to make potable water soon.
CrazyOne Posted Sep 23, 1999
You pay for the disposal of it? Heck, far as I know if you're hooked up to municipal (or whoever runs it) water and sewer systems, you pay both ways, for the water coming in (because it gets treated) and the waste going out (because it gets treated). In a remote area, you'd pay for neither. You'd have a well to give you water (you'd pay to have it drilled and for a pump, etc., but that's it) and a tank to hold the waste water (which you'd pay to install and have cleaned every so often). Guess it all works out.
Bottled water is a new phenomenon and mostly hype over reality. In much of the developed world, water out of the tap is okay to drink. Bottled water just tastes better, etc. And once you get to drinking the bottled sort, it's hard to go back, because then the tap water starts tasting *really* bad in comparison. Time for me to try a filter of some sort instead.
The real issue in my opinion with potable water is that we have no *efficient* ways of getting it in the face of current supply. Necessity is the mother of invention, yes? Well, this is true with energy sources quite clearly. As long as the oil's around and it's cheap, there will be fewer advances in other energy possibilities. Same is true of the water. Desalination of ocean water is a technology that exists, but for now it's less efficient than using the water that's already available.
Is mise Duncan Posted Oct 26, 1999
Tony Bullimore (the mad yachtsman who got rescued after
days in the freezing sea south of Australia) had a hand-
cranked de-salination device. I have no idea how it worked,
but surely a wave-driven industrial scale version of the
same could be created?
Anonymouse Posted Oct 26, 1999
While it is true that in the country you don't pay for water (and usually get a much better taste for that value! ) you also pay to have it pumped (called The Electric Bill ).
And who says bottled water tastes better? *yutchsplutter*
Doppleganger Posted Oct 29, 1999
I think the problem that everyone seems to miss is that, no matter what our resources, humankind will always
strive to stress them. I'm not saying that the world is an evil place, and children shouldn't be brought in to it. I
just think that it is very easy to do my own part to help with the overpopulation. I personally don't want to see
huge desalinization units, and layer upon layer of housing, and tray after tray of hydroponically grown wheat on
my weekly pedal to the mountains. The cities are already bursting, and in some cases (Turkey) are falling down
because nature doesn't want them where they are. I think it's way past time to start considering a lowered
international birth rate. Heck, we're living longer now anyway. Where will I live when I hit 105 and can't feed
myself? questions, questions, questions. Sorry.
CrazyOne Posted Oct 29, 1999
The rate of population growth is slowing down, according to something I read recently. I don't doubt that population is a problem (although it seems to me wouldn't be such a problem if everyone didn't cram into the cities!) Anyway, my main point was really that nothing will really happen until things get much more severe. And I'd also point out that water won't be the first issue. It'll be those fossil energy sources that are first to be in severely short supply.
what you know as km Posted Oct 29, 1999
If water becomes scarce, we can just hop over to those polar ice caps and melt a few chunks off.
what you know as km Posted Jun 1, 2000
It'd be faster if we did it with a microwave. But that's beaurocracy for you.
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