WATER, WATER everywhere, and not a drop to drink

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by brian eiland, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    ...thats the quote that popped into my head when I saw this dramatic illustration.

    planet-water, pale blue dot, larger.jpg
    Pale Blue Dot
    All the water on Earth would fill a sphere that was just 860 miles in diameter. Jack Cook/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

    If you combined all of the water in the planet’s ice caps, glaciers, rivers, lakes, aquifers and oceans, it would fill a sphere 860 miles in diameter. That volume, some 366 million trillion gallons, hasn’t changed in millennia, nor will it change in the foreseeable future. What will change, as the planet becomes hotter and more crowded, is where this water appears and in what stage of the hydrologic cycle. And those changes will present us with many oddly conflicting challenges.

    article Popular Science July 2012
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  2. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Great reality, the picture that is.

    Thanks Brian.
  3. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    If you think the powers that be have us by the balls over energy, just wait until a real or imagined diminished supply of food and water are what they're peddling. In the early 80's, all the states and provinces surrounding the Great Lakes signed an agreement covering protection of that supply, especially concerning pipelines to various places, especially to the Southwest USA. Our cheap Walmart goodies and obsession for material possessions has resulted in most third world countries with manufacturing, mining or oil drilling, have polluted their potable water to the point where it can hardly be used for washing cloths, much less cooking. Some people pay 25-50% of their pathetic daily wages just for cooking and drinking water.
  4. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Drinking Water resources

    Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use.

    Water is essential not only to to personal health, but also to healthy economic, geopolitical, and environmental conditions around the world. Yet due to population growth, climate change, and mismanagement, the need for adequate, affordable drinking (and irrigation) water is a growing international crisis.

    The UN estimates that by 2025, forty-eight nations, with combined population of 2.8 billion, will face freshwater “stress” or “scarcity”.

  5. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Seabird Survival?

    Many seabirds (such as albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters) spend months and even years at sea soaring over the world's oceans without ever approaching any land mass. So the question naturally arises, "What do seabirds drink?" The answer is, "seawater."

    The next question that naturally arises is, "How then do they survive?"

    Seawater has a much higher concentration of salt than that found in the body fluids of most animals, including mammals and birds; therefore, when seawater is ingested, the osmotic balance of these animals is upset. Mammalian kidneys, in order to flush the body of excess salt, must use one and one-half times as much fresh water as the amount of ingested seawater. Without fresh water, dehydration of body tissues ensues, and in most cases, death follows. Avian kidneys, being much less efficient than mammalian kidneys,1 must use an even greater amount of fresh water to rid the body of seawater. Thus, seabirds would encounter the same fate if they had to rely solely on their kidneys to maintain their body's osmotic balance.

    more here
  6. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    One of the by-products of burning coal is water. Release that water by using coal for energy. The numbers posted do not take into account all the water trapped in organisms, the atmosphere and carboniferous deposits.
  7. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    The Ogalala and Everglades systems are getting sucked dry. Salt water intrusion is a big issue, polluting what little is left.

    Here we have the Altamaha River system, which on the coast becomes a delta branching into 5 rivers feeding hundreds of square miles of intertidal estuary which is like an environmental womb for sealife and wildlife. This and other rivers drain Georgia and are already polluted by factories, farming, septic systems, road and parking lot runoff etc, but are under onslaught by manufacturing, papermills, agricultural irrigation etc that want to pipeline water directly from the rivers to save on their water bills or to overcome water restrictions. But that will increase the salinity of the marshes and upset the balance of nature there.

    For decades, Atlanta dumped millions of gallons a day of raw sewage into the Chattahoochie River. It was cheaper to pay millions of dollars in annual fines than it was to construct a sewage treatment plant, so that's what they did. It might be they still are doing it.

    Religion and politics are supposed to be taboo here, but it's hard to separate them from questions that matter. Unregulated capitalism leads to living in your own **** and that "Be Fruitful and Multiply" blurb needs to be updated to "Pull Thine Head Out Of Thine ***".
  8. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    That number seems questionable, but even more irrational is the notion that human populations is some how a threat to it. As if the growth in population, and human missmagaement can have any significant impact on the oceans is mind boggling.

    If all of the humans in the world were put in one city, it would take an area less than 200 miles square to house them in less population density than the average US big city. Humans do not need very much of the planets resources.
  9. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Questionable numbers?

    Add up the numbers and divide by 7 billion and you get 160 square feet per person, a room about 12 x 12 feet. divide 160 into the feet per square mile, 27,878,400, and you get a density of 174,240 people per square mile.

    Your example of 200 miles square (40,000 sq miles) compared to anything isn't too useful. Standing up all humans could fit into a 22 mile square (500 sq miles). 1/80th the space. They could all fit on the head of a pin if the pin was big enough.

    If humans don't require much of the earths resources, why is it that most of the worlds arable land is already farmed, and only produces what it does because of fossil fuel backed fertilizers and machines, and yet we still have those darned starving kids in India or China or Wherever they were? Why are all the worlds underground aquifers disappearing from humans using them? How come the forests are disappearing?

    Here's a number relating to slash and burn farming in the Amazon (cut down the rainforest, burn off the residue, farm it for 2-3 years until the soil is gone and sterile and then move somewhere else and do it again),

    Your allotted space in your 200 mile square city could grow 3 hamburgers. That's breakfast, lunch and dinner for today. Tomorrow, you might splurge and eat another 200 square feet of rainforest.

    You can think what you want, but I think humans need vast amounts of the earths resources and are only surviving now by exploiting and plundering the nonrenewable ones at the expense of future catastrophe.

  10. BPL
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    BPL Senior Member

    Fascinating visual. It's hard to believe that the deepest depths are still so thin in proportion.
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