Water Wars

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by HectortheInspector, Oct 21, 2009.

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  1. Isn't that the Monetary Policy Committee?
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  2. I said it would make you think, didn't I. :)
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  3. It made me think of the Monkey Policy Committee.
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  4. I haven't but I will look it up.
    What seems to happen in many places is a progressive marginalization of the small farmer.
    There is always a conflict between livestock farmers and cereal farmers anyway, and these conflicts get worse.
    Small farms tend to be undercapitalised, so the additional stress of water shortage in an already inefficient system tends to drive the small farmer out of business, and larger, better capitalized and often foreign absentee landlords buy up the land.
    The broke small farmers then tend to drift towards the cities for work, and then you see the growth in urban populations, huge unplanned urban squatter camps and an increased water demand in the cities.
    Then the cities, with their leaky and overstressed pipes and sewers, begin extracting more water from upstream, away from the farms, and so the cycle continues.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
  5. I hate you. Another book added to my reading list just when I have started a course on Wessex that means I have no free reading time.

    Regarding water pricing I remember my BiL (an economist focusing on East Asia) mentioning that in Japan the Government had pushed water saving to such a level at one point that water companies started to go under as there was so little custom for their product. I have memories of our media pushing the idea of planting cactus in our gardens, I wonder how many of those are still alive.
  6. Disquiet in Thailand and Laos about sneaky Chinese modification of the Upper Mekong.

    China's Silk Road push in Thailand may founder on Mekong River row
    China's plan to blast open more of the Mekong River for bigger cargo ships could founder on a remote outcrop of half-submerged rocks that Thai protesters have vowed to protect against Beijing's economic expansion in Southeast Asia.

    Dynamiting the Pi Long rapids and other sections of the Mekong between Thailand and Laos will harm the environment and bring trade advantages only to China, the protesters say.

    "This will be the death of the Mekong," said Niwat Roykaew, chairman of the Rak Chiang Khong Conservation Group, which is campaigning against the project. "You'll never be able to revive it."

    Niwat said blasting the Mekong will destroy fish breeding grounds, disrupt migrating birds and cause increased water flow that will erode riverside farmland.

    Such opposition reflects a wider challenge to China's ambitious "One Belt, One Road" project to build a modern-day Silk Road through Asia to Europe.
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  7. From the CBC: How do you fix the water shortage in the UAE? Tow icebergs from Antarctica, one company says

    A company in the United Arab Emirates is proposing to tow icebergs from Antarctica to the UAE and melt them to supply fresh water. This isn't the first time this idea has come up somewhere, but it's interesting to see it proposed once again.

    The story notes that the idea is easier said than done, as the iceberg is likely to break up en route, making getting significant chunks of it to the final destination somewhat of a challenge.

    Here's a video showing the proposal. It gets very vague when it comes to how they propose to actually capture the melt water from the iceberg.

    I suspect the idea will go nowhere, at least for now.

  8. I recall seeing this idea on the BBC 'Tomorrows World' science programme sometime in the late 70's or early 80's.

    It has been around a long time.
  9. Seem to recall it showing up in Look and Learn as well.

    If it were to be done better to leave the ice there and use dracones to tow away the melt water.

    Dracone Barge - Wikipedia
  10. iceberg towing is a daft idea. You would be better off towing it half way then harvesting the meltwater, and pumping it into a tanker.
  11. Thats what I'm getting at but I was thinking specifically of the meltwater that is penetrating down through the antarctic glaciers and (possibly) accelerating their collapse.
  12. The places where that meltwater is flowing at the surface will be across a moving, unstable, and crevasse strewn ice surface well inland. What do you do? Building dams and canals is not feasible, as there's no solid ground to build permanent structures on. Running a hose isn't going to work for the distances and quantities we are talking about. Then if you somehow get the water to the ocean, it will be in places where navigation is hazardous due to the calving icebergs.

    Towing icebergs doesn't sound feasible unless the ocean currents naturally take the icebergs very close to land where you can tow them into a suitable small bay, build a dike across the entrance, pump out the sea water, and let the melting water form a reservoir. However, I'm not aware of any suitable location in the southern Indian Ocean that meets those criteria.

    What might possibly work is instead of going after large icebergs, to instead go after multiple smaller pieces of ice of a few hundred tons apiece. They could trap them in large waterproof bags, pump the sea water out (to avoid sea water contamination), stuff the bagged ice into larger bags like the dracones you mentioned, pump those full of sea water to provide a more streamlined profile, and then tow those to market. I'm not sure the result would be worth the amount of effort however.

    What might possibly make a lot more sense would be to build very large water tankers and shuttle those between coastal reservoirs in well watered parts of Southeast Asia and the Persian Gulf.

    To put things in perspective, the Aswan Dam in Egypt passes 55 cubic kilometres of water per year. of which 46 are used for irrigation. Aswan Dam - Wikipedia

    Let's take the 46 cubic kilometres per year figure to work with. Ships are normally rated in tons, so we will turn that into 46,000,000,000 tons. If we assume a large water carrying ship similar to an oil tanker could carry 1,000,000 tons, that works out to 46,000 round trips per year.

    The following site states that Singapore to Mina Rashid (Dubai) takes 16.5 days at sea at a speed of 10 knots. Those aren't the actual end points we'd use, but they are close enough give we don't have actual locations defined. http://ports.com/sea-route/port-of-singapore,singapore/mina-rashid-port-dubai,united-arab-emirates/

    Let's round that off to 12 round trips per year per water tanker, while not attempting to calculate time for loading, discharging, maintenance, etc. This amounts to the equivalent of more than 3,800 large tankers shuttling back and forth constantly to supply an amount of water equivalent to what Egypt uses from the Nile.

    This source says that there are currently 638 VLCC (large) oil tankers in the world today. So we are talking about a water tanker fleet that is 6 times the size of the entire global fleet of large oil tankers.

    Hmm, that doesn't very feasible if we want to use the water to turn the desert green as the video suggests. It also puts some perspective on the size of the task we are talking about even if we go back to the idea of towing icebergs somehow. We wouldn't have to enclose the iceberg, but we would still need a lot of tugs to tow the icebergs around.

    If we trim the idea back to just providing water for municipal supply, then we might be talking about much more feasible quantities. The video showing green plants replacing desert however sounds to me like rubbish.
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  13. Repair work on the Mosul Dam is apparently complete.
    Gone from disaster-in-waiting to just very worrying.
    Mosul Dam No Longer on Brink of Catastrophe

    After six months of intensified repairs, Iraqi officials claim the massive Mosul Dam has been saved from impending disaster. But experts say it will always be at risk of collapse and will need constant maintenance.

    "There remains no danger to the dam now," Hassan Janabi, Iraq's minister of water resources, told VOA. "It is with overwhelming happiness to announce that it is going back to normal operation."
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  14. Well if the icebergs won't go to the Arabs...
  15. Pakistan looking at a new series of dams on the Indus, funded by China as part of the Silk Road project.
    China to build dams in Pakistan
    In a major leapfrog in cementing the Belt and Road initiative, China and Pakistan Saturday signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MoU) to fund and develop Pakistan’s five big water reservoirs with an estimated cost of US$ 50 billion. The projects will be completed in the Indus River Cascade which has a potential of producing 40,000MW of power.

    Pakistan has an identified potential of 60,000MW from hydropower projects.

    The Indus River Cascade begins from Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan and runs through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    The MoU signed was for around 22,320MW (Diamer-Bhasha 4,500; Patan 2,400; Thakot 4,000; Bunji 7,100; Dasu 4,320).

    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif witnessed the signing of an MoU regarding the roadmap for power projects under CPEC that was signed by Water and Power Secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokhar and Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Sun Weidong.

    Under the MoU, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) would oversee building and funding of five dams, including Diamer-Bhasha, Pattan, Thacoat, Bunji and Dasau dams. This would be China’s biggest-ever investment in Pakistan besides already committed projects worth US$ 57 billion under the CPEC.