Can the earth really run out of water?

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10 years 7 months ago #29350 by Cinsara
I have been hearing we have to be careful as the world may run out of water in the future and I don't know how it could happen. My limited understanding of moisture on this planet is that it performs a never ending cycle:
Rain comes down, it is consumed by everything, then it is sweated off, excreted, or evapourated, then it travels back up as far as it can go, whereupon it is collected in the 'heavens' and comes back down again as rain - the cycle repeats ad nauseam.
If this is the case, how can the earth ever run out as no drop of moisture is actually used up it is just distilled/recycled??

>



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10 years 7 months ago #399030 by GloPony
A lot of the water the world consumes is underground though rather than rain water & it's rapidly being depleted.

Drought, cutting down rainforests, etc = less tress = less rain.

Look around the world & note that 'fresh' water is becoming a valuable commodity the world over. There are droughts happening in places that have never experienced them before. We've just been shipping emergency supplies to the Islands as they've run out & have had no rain. Australia's water supply is dwindling...

There are large corporations buying up water rights from unsuspecting countries, all across the planet. Bottled water already costs more per litre than Coca Cola & petrol. We're one of the few countries in the world with a good supply which can be drunk from the tap.

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10 years 7 months ago #399032 by stephclark
interesting.. i thought it was the fresh drinkable that is running out.. given the rate humans are polluting oceans,lakes,streams,land...

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10 years 7 months ago #399033 by Lindeggs
I think it's that "drinkable" water is running out. The waterways are getting polluted and diverted to industrial processes rather than going to the small farmers for their crops or the people who need to drink it.

Also the rain is still coming down but the distribution is very uneven. So you have floods in one place at the same time as droughts in another. The water from floods can't be harnessed and used - it just kills people, gets polluted, and eventually runs out to sea.



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10 years 7 months ago #399037 by Huggiechook
You are correct Cinsara - the amount of available water is not changing significantly. 99.99% of the water we use comes from the oceans since that is where most of the evaporation happens. What is changing though is the number of people - and by consequence the number of animals and plants that need water. So I guess it is not so much a case of running out of water but a case of running out of "spare water" to soak up any increase in demand.

Quarter Acre with Veggie Garden, Fruit trees, Berry bushes, Chicken run, Mushroom farm, Playground - and yes I manage to live there too [;)]

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10 years 7 months ago #399038 by stephclark
lindeggs is onto it there.. we also have the problem of 'acid' rain.. so what does fall needs to be run thru mother earths filtering system for a century or so to become pure and clean again...

saw a doco once on the ground water pollution problem in Taiwan.. dig down till you hit 'water'' then light it with a match.. it burns, there is so much petrochemical pollution...

another stat i heard.. which i dont remember exactly..every drop of water on the plante has been thru, something like, 20 human bodies in the time the planet has existed.. doesnt count animals and plants..

emm pass the wine please[;)]

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10 years 7 months ago #399042 by Organix
Keep in mind that only a small fraction of the Earth's water is useable for drinking, irrigation and industry, with most water being in our oceans and in underground aquifers. The rate at which humankind is polluting what useable water we have available to us together with the rapid depletion of ancient aquifers will see us having to resort to alternative (and much more expensive) sources for our water supplies such as desalination plants.

From my past experience the biggest single limiting factor on avocado production internationally is declining irrigation availability. Avo's are suited to climates that are semi-arid (i.e. Israel, Spain, California, South Africa, Mexico) so tend to be an 'indicator' in this respect but the problem is far from isolated to this horticultural crop.

The coming crisis concerning water reserves is very similar to the Peak Oil situation and while the Middle East and other such countries are calling the shots now in terms of world oil prices a similar situation will occur in the future as countries such as NZ and Canada will contain a large proportion of the world's clean water, so long as we don't squander it on dairy production :rolleyes:

If you have decent broadband the movie HOME is well worth viewing (1.5GB, 90 minutes, HD version available) and gives a reality check on what is going wrong with our planet, and it ain't a pretty picture :(

Harm Less Solutions.co.nz
NZ & AU distributor of Eco Wood Treatment stains and Bambu Dru bamboo fabrics and clothing

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10 years 7 months ago #399191 by grannie Mary
It is the waste by city folk that gets me...... at least a litre to wash a teaspoon,
multiply that by several million people in just NZ

Mary

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its trouble,
It empties today of its strength."

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10 years 7 months ago #399196 by igor
Quite right, grannie Mary. I pulled someone up over that once when I caught him washing his car with a hose in a time of drought and he said, "I pay for it. I'll use as much as I like." He just could not get that no amount of money can buy that which is not available.

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10 years 7 months ago #399199 by Lindeggs

grannie Mary;394277 wrote: It is the waste by city folk that gets me...... at least a litre to wash a teaspoon,
multiply that by several million people in just NZ

It should be compulsory for everyone to live for a full year on only tank water. They would soon discover the true value of water and maybe not put an entire washing machine on to wash their swimming togs (as a mid-summer visitor to my parents' place did! [:0])



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10 years 7 months ago #399201 by stephclark
i dont see why coucils arent actively encouraging people to have water tanks off the backs of houses/garages..they make it virtually impossible ( and blimin expensive )..add to that the building regs that have grey water from washing machines piped directly into the waste system..its crazy..
i got my new bathroom/laundry signed off then promptly pulled it apart again so i can collect the washing machine water..instant loo flush,garden water,car wash ( not that that happens more than twice a year )..
i am somewhat obesed with collecting water and every drip has a bucket under it..without that little extra, my tank would not support the veg gardens or flower gardens or the stock troughs..

pet peev.. running tap whist brushing teeth.. grrr..

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10 years 7 months ago #399208 by igor
Most councils forbid the installation of rainwater tanks in areas of reticulated supply. The excuse given usually seems to be public health. Fortunately this attitude appears to be starting to change.

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10 years 7 months ago #399282 by Lindeggs
Apparently in Melbourne until recently it was illegal to catch your own rain water! It was because the council had privatised the water supply and guaranteed the supply company exclusive rights. So if you installed your own water tank you were effectively a pirate! [:0] Incredible.



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10 years 7 months ago #399290 by WillEyre

igor;394294 wrote: Most councils forbid the installation of rainwater tanks in areas of reticulated supply. The excuse given usually seems to be public health. Fortunately this attitude appears to be starting to change.


Do they really? I've yet to hear of any local body near me (lower North Island) doing that. I thought they actually encouraged it. (To reduce load on the wastewater system).
Can you provide a few more details about these 'rogue' councils?

Your Melbourne example too, Lindeggs is a new one on me. A family member of mine has a long-standing business there installing catchment systems in private homes.

Ed

I liked Occam's Razor so much, I bought the company.

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10 years 7 months ago #399344 by kindajojo
We can still drink milk!

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