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Peak Water Pt. 2

Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 25 Dec 2015, 08:40:30

I have long believed that the single most serious environmental disaster in the USA is the depletion of the Ogallala aquifer:
Image
...we may actually run out of fresh water in these states before we run out of fossil fuels to grow grains. I know a lady who bought 20 acres in Wyoming, on the strength of three deepwater wells. Before she could build a house, all three wells had gone dry - the shrinking Ogallala was no longer under any of her 20 acres. She now pays the few bucks of annual taxes on land that is essentially worthless, the former productive pasture is returning to arid desert conditions.

Certainly one would not want to buy land anywhere close to the present aquifer edge. By 2060 the aquifer will be essentially unusable, and only crops suitable for arid conditions will grow there - or if very well-funded, one could create a capture system for surface water. Certainly a lot less grain and a lot less beef will be produced in the area, and any cities had best have executed a plan to replace aquifer wells.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby Newfie » Fri 25 Dec 2015, 09:18:34

I think alternative water supply options will be pretty limited for places like Vegas.

Hell, look at Flint. They had a variety of options and selcted the most expensive and stupid option. How many times will that kind of quality thinking be repeated?

Edit to add

I did a short search on the Flint issue. It was, as a minimum, because of using lead pipes and then running corrosive water through them. Apparently many US cities still have systems made from or containing lead. I had not known that.

Also it seems there were other issues with the color and odor of the water not related to the lead issue.

Detroit had been treating the water sold to Flint with phosphates to. counteract the corrosion. So this was clearly a know issue.

I have to say this confirms my lack of trust in large bureaucratic organizations, public or private. They are failing at their prime directive, to protect the public.

How would we react should we find some Islamic organization put something in a cities water that would permanently degrade the IQ of thousands of young children? Why should we treat these folks differently?

We are a confused society, chasing boogie men while ignoring plai. And obvious home grown dangers.

What governmental agency is responsible for the health of the Ogallala aquifer?

This is obviously a known problem, not controversial. So why are we not up in arms about it? Who are the "them" that are responsible?
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby Cid_Yama » Fri 25 Dec 2015, 12:44:43

Multiple jurisdictions, States rights. They all want the right to race their neighbors to depletion. And they definitely don't want SOMEONE ELSE telling them how much they can have.

The same problem exists for the Great Lakes. Canada wants a binding regulatory treaty that protects the resource.

Coca-Cola wants to bottle it for free and sell it overseas. Who do you think will get what they want?

Since profiteering is glorified, rather that recognized for the misery it leaves in it's wake, this is the world you get to live in.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby Lore » Fri 25 Dec 2015, 12:53:42

Most of the claims will get bogged down in legalities until the time comes where the feasibility of physically being able to supply water to depleated areas of the planet becomes impossible to do. So, why worry about that.

Places like the greater West in the U.S. will literally just dry up and blow away.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 25 Dec 2015, 13:36:23

Some 750,000 gallons of water go over Niagara falls every second on it's way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. That is about 122 gallons per day for every person in North America. So we don't have a water shortage just a transportation and logistics problem.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby Subjectivist » Fri 25 Dec 2015, 13:51:26

vtsnowedin wrote:Some 750,000 gallons of water go over Niagara falls every second on it's way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. That is about 122 gallons per day for every person in North America. So we don't have a water shortage just a transportation and logistics problem.


The Missiouri river flows over the Ogalala Aquifer on the surface making it eminently more useful for irrigating Kansas and Nebraska.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby dohboi » Fri 25 Dec 2015, 21:09:59

Image

Regions where the water level has declined in the period 1980-1995 are shown in yellow and red; regions where it has increased are shown in shades of blue. Data from the USGS

Does anyone have access to a more recently updated depletion map? At this point--up to 1995--there were certainly mainly places showing steep declines, but most of it still showed 'insignificant change' and a few parts were actually gaining some water.

It would be good to know exactly how much worse it's gotten and where.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 25 Dec 2015, 21:11:29

Subjectivist wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:Some 750,000 gallons of water go over Niagara falls every second on it's way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. That is about 122 gallons per day for every person in North America. So we don't have a water shortage just a transportation and logistics problem.


The Missiouri river flows over the Ogalala Aquifer on the surface making it eminently more useful for irrigating Kansas and Nebraska.

Yes of course but they are already using all of that resource they can plus pumping down the aquifer below it. Any increased use needs to come from some source further away that is currently being let out to sea unused.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby dohboi » Fri 25 Dec 2015, 21:16:14

"The depletion between 2001 and 2008, inclusive, is about 32% of the cumulative depletion during the entire 20th century.

In the United States, the biggest users of water from aquifers include agricultural irrigation and oil and coal extraction"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer

I didn't realize so much water was used for coal and oil extraction. And this is all before fracking really got going in a big way.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 26 Dec 2015, 00:46:43

dohboi - "One thing that this points to is the need to not waste water on luxuries and stupidities. Of course, different people will have different ideas of what these are.: You mean like CA using more water to keep its golf courses green the was used to frac all the wells in Texas? In California, an average 18-hole golf course sprawls over 110 to 115 acres and conservatively uses almost 90 million gallons of water per year. And there are more than 860 courses in CA: 90 mm gallons X 860 = over 77 BILLION GALLONS OF WATER PER YEAR. That's almost 2,000 gallons/yr for every man, woman and child in the state. OTOH golf is a big business and it's significant "industry" with a lot of folks depending on those jobs. So as usual it gets back to how one views the trade off. Which, as is also usually the case, depends on where one sits in the dynamic. For instance the Rockman doesn't care if they shut down every CA golf course especially if that allows the state to keep supplying him and his with affordable produce.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby dohboi » Sat 26 Dec 2015, 10:01:35

Yes, I also could care less about golf courses.

But I was hoping you could enlighten me on why water is needed for coal and oil production, and what kinds of quantities we are talking about here.

Thanks ahead of time for any light you can throw in my generally dim direction! :)
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby Subjectivist » Sat 26 Dec 2015, 10:10:04

dohboi wrote:Yes, I also could care less about golf courses.

But I was hoping you could enlighten me on why water is needed for coal and oil production, and what kinds of quantities we are talking about here.

Thanks ahead of time for any light you can throw in my generally dim direction! :)


Coal has to be washed after it is mined to separate it from the clay and rock it is mixed with.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 26 Dec 2015, 14:28:39

dohboi - Some generalities: The data on water consumption in the world is provided by the United Nations (UN, UNESCO, and FAO, see list of publications below). Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 70% of all water consumption, compared to 20% for industry and 10% for domestic use. In industrialized nations, however, industries consume more than half of the water available for human use. Belgium, for example, uses 80% of the water available for industry.

And in the US from the USGS: thermoelectric power generation...49%; ag...31%; public water supply...11%. After that everything else is very small...less than 5% each. Mining, including oil/NG extraction, is 1%. You wouldn't think that given the hype, would you? But when "they" toss out X millions of gallons to frac a single well without putting it into a relative context it's much easier to mislead folks. lol.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby jedrider » Sat 26 Dec 2015, 14:34:01

Subjectivist wrote:
dohboi wrote:Yes, I also could care less about golf courses.

But I was hoping you could enlighten me on why water is needed for coal and oil production, and what kinds of quantities we are talking about here.

Thanks ahead of time for any light you can throw in my generally dim direction! :)


Coal has to be washed after it is mined to separate it from the clay and rock it is mixed with.


This has to be the most stupid thing, to be using FOSSIL water for either coal OR oil extraction!
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby dohboi » Sat 26 Dec 2015, 14:35:27

R, fracking certainly uses water, and in a way that makes it pretty useless for anything else, iirc. But I was more interested in coal and oil extraction. I didn't mean to prompt a defensive reaction. When you're in a better mood, maybe you can be a bit more informative in how normal coal and oil operations use water.

Thank for that bit on coal, sub.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 26 Dec 2015, 15:24:13

dohboi - Not being defensive at all. Just pointing out the spin as opposed to the facts. Spin that seems to have sucked you in perhaps. lol. And again the USGA lumps coal mining and oil/NG extraction together as the "mining" category. Which it says accounts for 1%. I would have thought a stronger reaction would have registered over from power generation utilizing fossil fuels consuming half the fresh water in the US. That surprised me given how many point to ag as the big bad water consumer.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Sun 27 Dec 2015, 00:41:49

ROCKMAN wrote:dohboi - Not being defensive at all. Just pointing out the spin as opposed to the facts. Spin that seems to have sucked you in perhaps. lol. And again the USGA lumps coal mining and oil/NG extraction together as the "mining" category. Which it says accounts for 1%. I would have thought a stronger reaction would have registered over from power generation utilizing fossil fuels consuming half the fresh water in the US. That surprised me given how many point to ag as the big bad water consumer.

The USGS* talks about "withdrawals". I couldn't figure out if that means consumption or does it exclude water returned (warm) to rivers and lakes ?

* Not the golfers.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 27 Dec 2015, 01:52:57

Keith makes a good point. Here is the Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant in Wisconsin. One of these two piers extracts water from Lake Michigan, the other returns it about 3 degrees F warmer. None of the water is actually "consumed", it is used in cooling the reactor (through a water/water heat exchanger, reactor coolant is not dumped in the lake).

Image

This is the Kewaunee Nuclear Plant 110 miles North of Point Beach, which uses the cooling tower option to turn some water from Green Bay into moist low temperature steam, which it vents into the air. Hard to argue that that water is "consumed", either - it rains a lot in the Northern MidWest.

Image

Entirely conventional coal plants such as this one also exist in Wisconsin, using both cooling tower and water heat exchanger options:

Image

Here is a coal power plant near Kenosha, Wisconsin (part of the "ring of soot" around Chicago). Note that this is an official power company photo of an idle power plant:

Image

...which looks a bit different in full capacity operation:

Image

...given a choice, I'd rather live by a clean nuke, which vents only waste heat. To be fair, many of the Wisconsin coal plants are converting to natural gas, and several more such as the Kewaunee nuclear plant have recently shut down because they cannot compete with low cost electricity produced from fracked natural gas.
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Re: Aquifer Depletion

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 28 Dec 2015, 14:26:12

I think the inevitable conclusion is their are several intractable limits to growth and in fact factors that will cull the population. My list would be thus: Potable/fresh water, Fossil fuels, Phosphorous and fertile soil. Now combine that with the perils of a rapidly warming world and it becomes quite clear that we will have a substantial die-off as population size can continue at current levels for too much longer. I do not see how anyone could argue to the contrary. Now, perhaps the country best positioned to survive and persevere is the US because as was said, we still have a relatively decent resource to population ratio and soils can be rehabilitated. Do not discount also, the ability for forcefully take what we want. However, even here water is being used and drained at unsustainable rates and one wonders without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides if our crops can even grow considering the condition of the soil. Expect die-off everywhere but at different rates and time intervals.
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Re: Peak Water

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 13 Feb 2016, 22:28:11

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... arch-finds
Four billion people face severe water scarcity, new research finds
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