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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:02 AM

What with the epic drought, I thought it would be fun to review:

Last edited Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:48 AM - Edit history (1)



http://www.verdantcommunity.com/conserve-water.html

20 replies, 1971 views

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Reply What with the epic drought, I thought it would be fun to review: (Original post)
phantom power Aug 2012 OP
annabanana Aug 2012 #1
phantom power Aug 2012 #2
annabanana Aug 2012 #12
RobertEarl Aug 2012 #14
limpyhobbler Aug 2012 #18
GliderGuider Aug 2012 #3
hatrack Aug 2012 #5
phantom power Aug 2012 #6
phantom power Aug 2012 #7
pscot Aug 2012 #9
dbackjon Aug 2012 #15
YankeyMCC Aug 2012 #4
felix_numinous Aug 2012 #8
DCKit Aug 2012 #10
NickB79 Aug 2012 #11
XemaSab Aug 2012 #13
phantom power Aug 2012 #16
limpyhobbler Aug 2012 #17
phantom power Aug 2012 #19
XemaSab Aug 2012 #20

Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:11 AM

1. Good to know - Yet ANOTHER reason that fracking should be stopped

and solar & wind should be backed to the hilt.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:16 AM

2. fracking doesn't really appear on that graph, per se.

As you can see, the vast majority is used by irrigation and thermal electric (which is essentially coal and nukes).

I'm not a fan of the recent natgas fad, but it's fair to say that NG electrical generation isn't a big water user. Gas combustion directly drives turbines.

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Response to phantom power (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:42 PM

12. It will if we let it get off the ground.

The fracking process uses LOTS of water.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #12)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 12:14 AM

14. Fracking is a bad use

Not only is the water mixed with chemicals it is injected into the ground and made hard to get. And even if you spend the money to pump it, it is polluted. And it can pollute other pure groundwater. Bad use all the way around.

The biggest problem with water usage is the pollution we instill in otherwise good water making it unusable for other uses.

And the missing links. These occur when water that is used is not placed back from the spot it came from. The distance can be many miles, and in that distance can be many ecological needs that are deprived of their former sources. For instance, the Colorado river delta.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #1)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 01:58 PM

18. +a billion

Solar & wind. No fracking. It's so wasteful and destructive, wrong in so many ways.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:38 AM

3. It's kind of hard to cut back on crop irrigation

Which realistically only leaves one place to find savings: cut out coal and nuclear power.
Hmmm... Rock, meet hard place.

A lot is going to depend on whether this year's drought is a one-off or the start of a shift to a new climatic regime.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:13 AM

5. I was sort of chewing on this issue this morning, particularly post-Drought Monitor update . ..

And I got to wondering - what would it take to initiate major agricultural (that is, economic and political) changes globally? Then I thought to myself, "Two more summers like this. If 2013 and 2014 are like 2012, then things really begin to come apart at the seams."

What prompted the Arab Spring? Food prices, fundamentally. The governments of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Yemen were corrupt, calcified, brutal, paranoid and inept, but they could at least do one thing (for the most part) right. They were able to get subsidized grain and basic commodities from elsewhere and supply them to their populations at low prices.

They may not have been able to handle infrastructure, education, criminal justice, economic development, energy supplies or much of anything else, but cheap subsidized bread - they were at least up to that challenge.

Until 2008. That's when the combination of and energy price spike and a commodity price spike really began to bite, and though prices tumbled in the immediate wake of the global meltdown, they rapidly rose again through 2010 and 2011. With nowhere else to go, the fine folks who brought you high-frequency stock trading and CDOs turned their attention to commodity markets, with predictable results. Hamstrung by high prices and their own general ineptitude, the old Arab leaders stumbled, fumbled and fell, unable to even provide bread.

These changes took place in an era of high prices, but in which there were no actual physical shortages of grains. Now imagine a scenario in which high prices are pushed even higher by actual physical shortfalls. Imagine, in other words, the current drought lasting just a year or two longer.

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Response to hatrack (Reply #5)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:16 AM

6. I was thinking just one more year like this and things would start to get real

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:18 AM

7. I'm no expert, but based on my reading, we could cut back water use...

for agriculture, and the trade off would basically be "less water use" for "more manual labor." Which, in a global economic depression with high unemployment, might not be such a horrible trade off.

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Response to phantom power (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:56 PM

9. Subsidizing ethanol encourages farmers

to try to grow corn where they oughtn't. Corn in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska needs irrigation. Government policy has a large effect on crop decisions and government policy can be changed.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 07:02 PM

15. Or, you can be like the Palo Verde Nuke plants in Arizona

Which are cooled with reclaim sewage water from Phoenix


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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:10 AM

4. Must be some mistake

"Industrial, Commercial (businesses, hotels, etc.) & Other Uses (including system losses) from Public Supply account for about 5.4%"

Public supply for businesses? Don't those business owners create the water themselves?

<sarcasm>

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:50 AM

8. Solar and wind would really help

then. What an interesting graph.

I have been researching composting toilets lately too. Once people get over the fact that compost is not raw sewage, and that land mammals are meant to poop on land and not in the water, then that is a start. There is a big 'humanure' movement going on--check it out

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/may/12/humanure-composting-toilets

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1945350,00.html

http://www.humanurehandbook.com/

http://journeytoforever.org/compost_humanure.html


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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:52 PM

10. It kills me when I hear our sprinklers turn on at 5 a.m. after a storm.

 

But you know what I get from the board and management of the condo - "that won't work here" or "it's too hard to implement".

I'll shoot myself before ever investing in a home with an HOA.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:57 PM

11. OK, Devil's advocate time. Thermoelectric and irrigation aren't comparable uses

Most of the water used to spin electric turbines is returned to the lakes and rivers it's pulled from, thereby allowing it to be used for secondary purposes like irrigation or livestock. Yes, it's sometimes so warm it harms the local aquatic life, but that doesn't impact other uses on a wider scale. I'd compare it to the use of greywater, but on a vastly large scale.

Water used in irrigation, however, is largely transpirated off by plants into the atmosphere, making it a one-use process.

Flame suit on

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #11)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:01 PM

13. I had that same thought

The water I use in my house gets pulled from the river a half a mile upstream, and gets returned to the river three miles downstream. Yes, some gets "lost," but a lot of it winds up where it would have been. The real issue is the power and chemicals used to clean it.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #11)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 07:28 PM

16. I think it's a fair point that some uses allow for more re-use than others...

I suppose when I occasionally post this pie-chart (or ones like it), I'm what I'm taking away from it is:

1) Residential use is a pretty small piece of the pie. So we should understand that efforts at reducing our personal use of water will not move the needle on "our civilization's water consumption" all that much. If we magically cut our personal water use by 50%, that would less than 5% of that pie up there.

2) The impact of a major drought, where ground water, lakes and rivers all decrease (like we are seeing this year), is going to be felt primarily in agriculture (which I think is more or less intuitive to people) but also thermal energy (which I think is probably not something the general public would think about). It also hits hydroelectric, which is around 15% of our electricity so that's not insignificant either.

so, imagining a situation where this kind of drought continues and rivers and lakes continue to dry up, it's not necessarily helpful that we could also reuse outfow from a thermal plant. The water would not be there to be used, period.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 01:51 PM

17. Do we know if water to grow animal feed has been classified as "irrigation"?

It should be classed as "livestock". In other words it belongs to the meat industry.

Different than crops we eat.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #17)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 02:36 PM

19. My best guess is it's all under irrigation.

A breakout on irrigation for livestock feed versus human feed would definitely be interesting.

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Response to phantom power (Reply #19)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 02:44 PM

20. I know in California the water-users are easily remembered by the acronym "CRAP"

Cotton, rice, alfalfa, and pasture.

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