Thursday, May 29, 2008

Peak Water

So most of us have heard of the concept of Peak Oil. But have you heard concern about Peak Water?

Here's a good post that talks about this. It's definitely interesting. And for sure read the linked Wired article. As you've seen on here before, the discussion of water usage is something that I think will be a big part of our future.

The paucity or abundance of water countries and regions hold has the potential to be a leading cause of conflict as we move through this century.


Chairman said...

Dean Kamen (a seriously smart inventor) has an interesting water purification system that basically uses condensation to take contaminated water, and get potable water out of it, at a relatively low energy cost. Additionally, no filters or other additives need to be used.

He was on Colbert Report (where I get all of my news) a couple months ago, and had a working model, which seemed interesting.

This device would answer a lot of questions for any area next to an ocean (though the scalability is an interesting question). But when you get further inland, the availability of any water seems to matter.

It seems that a major part of it is population control, as is changing tastes and preferences so that people are more conscious of the non-monetary costs of consumption (disposal costs are generally not built into the usage model, and not appropriately taxed).

Of course, technology is the other part of the equation. As we move away from horribly inefficient energy sources (i.e., fossil fuels, most biofuels, etc.), and move toward a hydrogen-based economy, we'll see much of the equation change.

Or, I suppose that we could just continue with overt and de facto genocide and trust that things shake themselves out properly.

Westy said...

Or do you get your news from this blog?

Chairman said...

Good call! Forgot that you had posted on that. I had actually seen the Colbert Report first, and wanted to post something about it over in the Board Room, and then saw that you posted on it already.

But the problem is still there for areas that are away from any source of water. What's interesting is that in desert survival, they have you do something similar. I believe that you put up a tarp over any vegetation that you can find, so that whatever water evaporates rises up, and then is caught by the tarp, and then rolls down, and is captured. So, the basic idea could still work, but scaling up is a huge issue.

The other issue is that the Kaman device seems suitable for smaller scales of human use. I don't think that it answers agricultural issues (though I could be wrong)

Westy said...

Yeah, I think it only works where there is some sort of brackish water source and on the scale for a household.

It is an awesome invention though. Larger scale water plants are possible, but as always, the cost is the problem.