Source of life running out: water scientists

May 24, 2013
A child fills a bottle with water from a public tap in Colombia on March 22, 2013. The majority of people on Earth will face severe water shortages within a generation or two if pollution and waste continues unabated, scientists warned at a conference in Bonn Friday.

The majority of people on Earth people will face severe water shortages within a generation or two if pollution and waste continues unabated, scientists warned at a conference in Bonn Friday.

"This handicap will be self-inflicted and is, we believe entirely avoidable," read a document entitled The Bonn Declaration issued at the close of the four-day international huddle.

The conference sought to assess the evidence of Man's impact on , which constitute only 2.5 percent of the total volume of water on Earth.

Currently, an estimated third of the world's seven million people has limited access to adequate , according to conference delegates.

"In the short span of one or two generations, the majority of the nine billion people on Earth will be living under the handicap of severe pressure on fresh water," said the declaration.

The nine billion mark is widely projected to be reached from about 2040.

"We are flying the red flag out of our conference here," Charles Vorosmarty, co-chairman of the Global Water System Project research body that hosted the meeting, said in a teleconference from Bonn.

"These self-inflicted wounds have long-term legacy effects that are not easy to turn around."

The declaration points out that humanity uses an area the size of South America to grow crops and another the size of Africa to raise livestock.

Two-thirds of major are sinking due to groundwater extraction, and tens of thousands of are distorting natural river flows on which ecosystems have depended for millennia.

Much damage is being done by river pollution from sewer drainage or agricultural fertiliser and .

Already, about a billion people around the world are dependent on finite water supplies being depleted at a fast rate, said Vorosmarty, who made a plea for more financial and technical resources for research.

"We're not making the requisite commitments to creating observational networks and satellite systems that can measure the state of water," he said.

"Increasingly, we are flying blind and finding it very difficult to figure where we are and where we're going and whether the things we are doing are making a difference."

UN-Water, a coordinating body for water efforts by UN groups, says Earth has about 35 million cubic kilometres (eight million cubic miles) of fresh water—70 percent of it locked up in ice and permanent snow cover.

Thirty percent of freshwater is stored underground in groundwater, which constitutes 97 percent of all freshwater potentially available for human use.

About 0.3 percent is found in lakes and rivers.

Experts say some 3,800 cubic kilometres of fresh water are extracted from aquatic ecosystems around the world each year, partly as a result of global warming.

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VENDItardE
2.1 / 5 (22) May 24, 2013
AGW isn't working out for UN world control so lets invent another fake threat.
Sigh
3.9 / 5 (19) May 24, 2013
AGW isn't working out for UN world control so lets invent another fake threat.

Do you have an actual argument? Can you point to specific data or argument in the report that is wrong? Or are you just expressing your wish that it should be wrong?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (13) May 24, 2013
Obviously the problem isnt too many people, its not enough clean water. Or food. Or energy.
beleg
5 / 5 (2) May 24, 2013
"Currently, an estimated third of the world's seven million people..."
between the years 10,000 and 6000 B.C.
Otherwise the "million" typo-correction is "billion".
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (11) May 24, 2013
It's very simple and easy to make fresh water.
Start planting nuclear batteries (http://www.time.c...00.html) and make fresh water on demand.
hopper
3.5 / 5 (6) May 24, 2013
Lockheed Martin recently announced that they had developed a desalination membrane that is 100 times more efficient than current membranes. If this works out then desalination plants will be able to deliver immense amounts of water on the cheap. Basically the worlds water problem will be solved.
http://www.popula...15216615
Shootist
2.1 / 5 (14) May 24, 2013
Stop denying these people access to cheap sources of electricity. The costs of Clean water, from unclean sources, are directly related to the cost of energy. Cheap energy equals plentiful clear water.

Drill here, drill now (otherwise you're gonna sit in the dark, freezing and thirsty).
Howhot
4 / 5 (8) May 24, 2013
Boy, all of that desalination talk sure makes us AGWites thirsty. Desalination would be a huge boom if you can cheaply desalinate enough water to irrigate some of these hecta-acre farms needed to feed your population but you still can't match a good rain storm.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (11) May 24, 2013
Saudis irrigate wheat with desalinated water.
Ever hear of drip irrigation?
Sean_W
2.2 / 5 (13) May 25, 2013
Give it a rest will you. Rain still falls. Reservoirs recharge. Desert reclamation and crop irrigation helps transport water inland via transpiration and condensation, just as jungles and forests do. Urbanization moves people towards coasts where desalinization is economical or near riverside cities where treatment is practical. This desperation for a grim future to fight against is pathetic.

And btw, the human population is only projected to reach 9 billion by the same organization which has constantly overestimated population growth for decades--the UN.
arq
3.7 / 5 (9) May 25, 2013
@venditard, i can understand some people doubting AGW as it cant be perceived easily.....but water shortage?? C'mon....unless you are doing it deliberately.......we are seeing it every day in many countries. You dont need a scientist to tell you that.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (12) May 25, 2013
9 billion
-which is about 3 billion too many. Rising temps, food and water shortages will ultimately put an end to the last of the recalcitrant religionist cultures which have been the CAUSE of war, poverty, and suffering throughout the ages.

Women will be free to have only as many babies as they want to, and the world will be saved. Amen.
Shootist
2.2 / 5 (13) May 25, 2013
9 billion
-which is about 3 billion too many. Rising temps, food and water shortages will ultimately put an end to the last of the recalcitrant religionist cultures which have been the CAUSE of war, poverty, and suffering throughout the ages.

Women will be free to have only as many babies as they want to, and the world will be saved. Amen.


Temps are stagnant, or falling. Ice Age coming. Be prepared.

Oh, and your bigotry is staggering.
Howhot
4.3 / 5 (6) May 26, 2013
@R2 so correctly points out
Saudis irrigate wheat with desalinated water.
Ever hear of drip irrigation?

Yeah I guess you mean like this;
http://arabiangaz...imports/

Good call R2, but do you really thing that a desalination plant can support the population expected in the next 200 year or so? I just don't see how the population will survive once we are past the sustainability roadmarks. Good try R2; but the Saudi had to second source their wheat.

And by the way, I do know what drip-irrigation is; I also know the image was of pivot irrigation.
sunmusing
3.5 / 5 (8) May 26, 2013
Fracking is a growing danger to the water supply...Big Oil rules our country through the corrupt congress...ALEC, an extreme right wing think tank, owned by the Koch brothers, just pushed their agenda on fracking into the Federal regulatory system...they are rich enough to not to have to worry about the rest of us...they are big oil, they are anti-American...
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (12) May 26, 2013
Oh, and your bigotry is staggering
Im not a bigot. I hate all religions equally.

I hate them in part BECAUSE they are all designed to outgrow and overrun their enemies. Which is obviously the CAUSE of the worlds problems today. They are also incidentally based on lies.

Are you a bigot because you hate nazism or stalinism? Same thing.
Fracking is a growing danger to the water supply..
-And I hate lies and liars like this as well.
Good call R2, but do you really thing that a desalination plant can support the population expected in the next 200 year or so?
Depends on 2 things: how much energy per capita we will be able to produce and how many capitas we will have in 200 years.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) May 26, 2013
an extreme right wing think tank, owned by the Koch brothers, just pushed their agenda on fracking into the Federal regulatory system...they are rich enough to not to have to worry about the rest of us...they are big oil, they are anti-American...


But the billionaire socialist Soros is pro-American?

Koch industries earn their wealth by selling products and services more efficiently than their competition. By doing so they benefit the rest of us.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (11) May 26, 2013
"Small and medium sized nuclear reactors are suitable for desalination, often with cogeneration of electricity using low-pressure steam from the turbine and hot seawater feed from the final cooling system. The main opportunities for nuclear plants have been identified as the 80-100,000 m³/day and 200-500,000 m³/day ranges.

A 2006 IAEA report based on country case studies showed that costs would be in the range ($US) 50 to 94 cents/m3 for RO, 60 to 96 c/m3 for MED and $1.18 to 1.48/m3 for MSF processes, with marked economies of scale. Nuclear power was very competitive at today's gas and oil prices. A French study for Tunisia compared four nuclear power options with combined cycle gas turbine and found that nuclear desalination costs were about half those of the gas plant for MED technology and about one third less for RO. With all energy sources, desalination costs with RO were lower than MED costs."
http://www.world-...clear-De
deepsand
3 / 5 (16) May 26, 2013
Desalination and/or purification aren't going to be of much help to areas that have no water to desalinate or purify.
deepsand
2.9 / 5 (17) May 26, 2013
Give it a rest will you. Rain still falls. Reservoirs recharge. Desert reclamation and crop irrigation helps transport water inland via transpiration and condensation, just as jungles and forests do. Urbanization moves people towards coasts where desalinization is economical or near riverside cities where treatment is practical.

When everyone is forced to live on the edge of an ocean just so as to have water, where is the food going to come from and what will water the crops?
Howhot
5 / 5 (3) May 29, 2013
R2 says:
A 2006 IAEA report based on country case studies showed that costs would be in the range ($US) 50 to 94 cents/m3 for RO, 60 to 96 c/m3 for MED and $1.18 to 1.48/m3 for MSF processes, with marked economies of scale. Nuclear power was very competitive at today's gas and oil prices. A French study for Tunisia compared four nuclear power options with combined cycle gas turbine and found that nuclear desalination costs were about half those of the gas plant for MED technology and about one third less for RO. With all energy sources, desalination costs with RO were lower than MED costs."


You know R2; that's why I like you. You actually do research your replies and pull the best fitting quotes to support your arguments. I don't think desalination is that easy or is capable of producing the volumes of water necessary to irrigate farm land in the scale needed to feed our exponentially growing population.

Do you expect billion dollar nuclear plants be used to desalinate?
Howhot
4.8 / 5 (4) May 29, 2013
The *Ghost* says
And I hate lies and liars like this as well.
Good call R2, but do you really thing that a desalination plant can support the population expected in the next 200 year or so?
Depends on 2 things: how much energy per capita we will be able to produce and how many capitas we will have in 200 years.

YOU ass butt just called me a liar? You know I've had better arguments with ghost peppers. The energy that will be spent sending this reply to your BS across the world will raise CO2 levels a part per million per volume (ppm/v) sooner or later.

To the point; the human population on Earth is growing exponentially; and the human population's consumption is growing exponentially. If all keeps going, eventually humans will over populate the planet and large sections of people will starve. My calculations indicate that we have about 200 year before a massive human die off. Is that AGW alarmist enough for you? There is always India to prove me wrong.