Thursday, August 19, 2010

Peak Water is so much more troubling than Peak Oil could ever be

Those of us that are concerned about climate change and the effects being experienced around the globe, have heard about and understand the alarm being sounded about Peak Oil. People that are really paying attention to the global crisis are also aware of an even greater concern to humanity; Peak Water. 

It's not hard to to understand why Peak Oil gets so much more attention than Peak Water; any guesses? The obvious answer should be money!  More specifically how much corporations profit from oil vs water.  

Water is at level two in what I have tagged "The Trinity of Human Existence": Air, Water, Food. Everything else is irrelevant without the Trinity. 

Due to an explosion in world population, human demand for freshwater already exceeded supply capabilities in many parts of the world; and as the human population continues to rise at an unprecedented rate, the demand grows with it and  many more areas are expected to experience this imbalance in the immediate future. The status-quot is unsustaianable.

Agriculture represents 70% of freshwater use worldwid. The United States accounts for approximately 5% of the world's population, yet the US uses almost as much water as India (~1/5th of world population) or China (1/5th of world population). The industrial sector in the United States consumes more water than the agricultural sector. Currently in the U.S. there are 36 states  in some form of water stress, ranging from serious to severe.

The Ogallala Aquifer in the southern high plains of Texas and New Mexico is being drawn down at a rate that far exceeds replenishment. Portions of the aquifer will not naturally recharge due to layers of clay between the surface and the water-bearing formation. The term fossil water is used to describe aquifers that are not sustainable because the recharge rate is extremely slow. The
Ogallala Aquifer primarily consists of Fossil Water.

In California, massive amounts of groundwater are being sucked out of the Central Valley groundwater aquifers—unreported, unmonitored, and unregulated. California's Central Valley is home to one sixth of all U.S. irrigated land, and the state leads the nation in agricultural production and exports. This can have major implications for the U.S. economy.

The Central Arizona Project (CAP) is a 336-mile (541 km) long canal that diverts 489 billion gallons a year from the Colorado River to irrigate more than 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of farmland. The CAP project also provides drinking water for Phoenix and Tucson. It has been estimated that Lake Mead, which dams the Colorado and supplies fresh water to more than 10 million people, is expected to run dry within the next 10 years.

The Ipswich River near Boston now runs dry in some years due to heavy pumping of groundwater for irrigation. Maryland, Virginia and the District have been fighting over the Potomac River. In drought years like 1999 or 2003, and on hot summer days the region consumes up to 85 percent of the river's flow.

Nine of the ten fastest-growing counties in the 15 months following Census 2000 (April 1, 2000) were in the South: three in Texas, three in Georgia, one in Virginia, one in Kentucky, and one in Florida.

Peak Water will be the primary cause of unrest and human suffering during the next century; if we continue too neglect the situation.

Listen to the children have to say- and then let me know what you think about the situation.

Opinions please; the subject is so worth your time and requires discussion & action NOW!


1 comment:

  1. Double good news! I picked up your story on Seeded Buzz, wrote about it and then my story about your story was picked up by YOBO!



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