Saturday, October 27, 2007

Water Shortage - Solved!

I don't want to get into a debate about global warming - how it's caused, who's responsible and how to stop it. Global warming is most likely caused by natural events we humans can do nothing to resolve making it out of our hands to stop it.

There is no doubt the fresh water supplies in many areas of the US are down. It's easy to see and measure. So, what are we going to do about it? Sit around and wring our hands? Wish for the problem to go away? Pray for a fix? (That would be the best way to go, but we must face reality and know that people don't believe in miracles anymore).

No, we need a real and concrete solution.

Here it is: Ocean water desalination.

Atlanta, Georgia is in crisis because of the shortage of fresh water. Yet, it has a large coast on the Atlantic ocean. Why are they not pulling water out of there and using it? It seems a no-brainer to me.

California has perennially been short of fresh water. The folks there come up with all sorts of unique ideas to tap into fresh water sources; even going so far as to propose digging a canal from Lake Michigan to Los Angeles. But what about the water in the Pacific Ocean? Take out the salt and you have the biggest reservoir of water on Earth.

Desalination is more expensive than treating fresh water. But, if you need it, isn't it worth the cost? Instead of spending billions of dollars trying to fight global warming, a fight we most likely can't win, why not put that money to better use and resolve problems which are in our power to resolve? The countries in the Middle East have been using ocean water for years with great success - why don't we do it, too?


  1. >" Ocean water desalination"

    Here's the problems with that solution:

    1) It needed to have been built long before now.

    2) Desalinization plants are huge, ugly, and no one wants one in their back yard. The NIMBY thing.

    3) Desalinization plants require large amounts of electricity, thus one needs a large source of reliable power. Where's the juice coming from? Decommissioned Russian nuclear sub parked at the beach?

    4) The purified water has to be not only pumped hundreds of miles inland, but also lifted over 1,000 feet in elevation. Most of the worlds water pipelines run downhill, not uphill. For good reasons related to gravity.

    5) Said pipeline needs to have already been built and nearing completion at this date.

    I think the real and concrete solution is a carefully crafted and phased drawdown of the Atlanta population. Think New Orleans, but better organized and over several months versus days.

    Atlanta also might consider repairing the leaky water system that accounts for 18% of water usage.

  2. Timothy,

    You bring up some valid points here:

    Yes, it should have started a long time ago - especially in places like California which seems to have perpetual water shortages.

    Delivery is a problem. I would use rail and trucks at first for expediency; but, pipes and pumping stations would be best for long-term use. It would be a lot easier than digging a canal from Lake Michigan to Los Angeles (a project I hear discussed from time to time). Think of all the jobs such a pipeline would create.

    Electricity is probably the easiest part of this solution to resolve.

    I don't think population redistribution is a viable option. I think given the choice of moving or having an ugly desalination plant nearby, I think most would pick having the plant.

  3. Massive water tampering / diversion taking place in Fresno, CA. Beneath the surface i.e., under the streets, homes, lawns, sidewalks is evidence of a 45+/- yr operation that is now being tied into the "infrastructure upgrade." This is the mystery of why Fresno is the shambles it is - it is also why there are no older records.
    Where is help when needed?