The shortage of fresh water on planet Earth is likely to become the biggest problem ever during the forthcoming decades. Experts from the International Water Management Institute said in their recent report that the water crisis in the world would occur because of the growing number of population.
According to the UN, the population of planet Earth will grow from 6 to 8.5 billion people by 2030. One person living in an industrially developed country consumes up to 3,000 liters of water a year. If the global population grows by 2.5 billion, it will be necessary to find additional 2,000 cubic kilometers of water for their living.
“The global consumption of water has increased six times during the recent 100 years and will double by 2050. There are countries that have already run out of water reserves for the production of their food. The shortage of fresh water will inevitably boost prices on this resource,” the Director of the International Water Management Institute, Frank Rijsberman said. …
Mankind will have to deal with a serious shortage of water in 25 years. Earth’s fresh water reserves will not be enough to feed the growing population of the planet. Specialists say that one should take urgent measures now to solve the water problem. The list of measures includes the construction of water reservoirs, the use of rain water for irrigation of fields and gardens, etc.
It is not the first time when futurologists raise the water crisis subject. They believe that the crisis may occur even before the planet runs out of its fresh water. The shortage of water can be accompanied with large-scale military conflicts. – pravda
Well, don’t believe everything you read in Pravda, but the risk is real. “The world’s supply of fresh water is running out. ” See this World water flash point map from the BBC. Here is info about one flash point:
Ninety-five percent of the United States’ fresh water is underground. As farmers in the Texan High Plains pump groundwater faster than rain replenishes it, the water tables are dropping. North America’s largest aquifer, the Ogallala, is being depleted at a rate of 12 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year. Total depletion to date amounts to some 325 bcm, a volume equal to the annual flow of 18 Colorado Rivers. The Ogallala stretches from Texas to South Dakota, and waters one fifth of US irrigated land. Many farmers in the High Plains are now turning away from irrigated agriculture, as they become aware of the hazards of overpumping, and realise water is not in endless supply.
This from corpwatch:
The private sector was the first to notice: the planet is running out of fresh water at such a rate that soon it will be the most valuable commodity on earth. Thirty-one countries are facing severe water stress and over one billion people have no access to clean water. Every eight seconds a child dies of water-borne disease. And the crisis is getting worse. By 2025, with an ever-greater number of people sharing the earth’s finite supplies of water and its per capita use having more than doubled, two-thirds of the world’s people will not have enough water for the basics of life.
Why not just take the salt out of seawater and drink that?
Seawater contains roughly 130 grams of salt per gallon. Desalination can reduce salt levels to below 2 grams per gallon, which is the limit for safe human consumption. Currently, between 10 and 13 billion gallons of water are desalinated worldwide per day. That’s only about 0.2 percent of global water consumption, but the number is increasing. …
But even with membranes, large amounts of energy are needed to generate the high pressure that forces the water through the filter. Current methods require about 14 kilowatt-hours of energy to produce 1,000 gallons of desalinated seawater.
A typical American uses 80 to 100 gallons of water a day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The entire country consumes about 323 billion gallons per day of surface water and another 84.5 billion gallons of ground water.
If half of this water came from desalination, the United States would need more than 100 extra electric power plants, each with a gigawatt of capacity. – livescience
Nanotech to the rescue?
NanoH2O, a desalination company that grew out of research at UCLA, has raised $5 million. The company is trying to commercialize a membrane that consists of a matrix of porous polymer sheets embedded with specially designed nanoparticles. The nanoparticles attract water molecules and repel other particles. In reverse osmosis, seawater passes through porous membranes. The pores allow water to pass, but are too small for salt and other particles, thereby purifying the water. Because they attract water and repel other substances through their inherent chemical properties, the particles cut in half the amount of energy required to pump the water through the membrane. You can see a picture of their poster presentation at the Cleantech Venture Forum here. – cnet