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Thread: Water shortages- Problem solved?

  1. #1 Water shortages- Problem solved? 
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    I've had this idea for a while now. About 70 countries have shortages in their water supply. So, this can be easily remedied. We can implement pumping stations on the coasts of these countries (Including America) to collect salt water from the ocean (And fence it off so as to avoid trapping fish). We can filter out the salt and make it available via a universal water transportation system (Pipes going from the pumping station to the nearest town or city reservoir). I don't see why this can't be done. Also, on the issue of unsanitary ocean water in toxic areas, areas like that are no longer suitable to live in, eventually they may recover, but we need to stop polluting to the point of noncompliant resources...

    But there's my idea, universal water transportation systems which bring filtered water from pumping stations to communal reservoirs, further filtering can be done at the reservoir facility.


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  3. #2  
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    Extracting the salt is energy intensive and unaffordable to most of those same places. Even in the US it's considered an option of last resort.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Senior Kukhri's Avatar
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    It's called a desalination plant.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    If you ever played the SimCity series, you know that desalination plants are really prohibitively expensive to run. It just makes water too expensive.
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  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Part of the problem is that the salt is not there as particulate matter and so it cannot be filtered, which is your suggestion. It is in solution, so it can only be removed chemically, or by evaporation. As others have pointed out this is energy intensive and expensive. The only places I know where it is used extensively are by states on the Persian Gulf, where fresh water is difficult to obtain and energy is readily available.
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    Ahh, well then, we need to find new ways of doing these things. Quick, get Bill Nye!
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  8. #7  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    Can't you use some sort of reverse osmosis to remove the salt? Obviously still expensive but beats trying to boil water
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  9. #8  
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    Agreed. There must be some way to remove salt from ocean water in an inexpensive if not simple process. We've found solutions for much more complicated things before.
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  10. #9  
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    Solar distillation is rather economic
    http://www.appropedia.org/Understanding_Solar_Stills

    Providing free water to thirsty people is not profitable. Welcome to capitalism. Anyone else want out?

    I have an idea to start a non-profit organization. Build solar stills along the oceans around the equator. Make sea salt and purified water. Sell sea salt and bring water to people who need it. Use profits to build more solar stills and buy water trucks. Plant dates, nut and other fruit trees, these make shade and cool people down so they need less water.

    You can even call the salt "organic" and charge 5 times as much
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  11. #10  
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    You're hired.
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  12. #11  
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    Desalination is mostly done by reverse osmosis - passing seawater through special membranes to remove salt. This process is getting cheaper due to the design of newer and better membrane materials. As previously stated, it is too expensive for most places that are short of fresh water, but the price is dropping and it will make a good contribution in decades to come.

    A better approach is to look at water use. The greatest use by far is in agriculture for irrigation. Sadly, most irrigation uses very wasteful methods such as whole field flooding. The efficiency can be improved drastically by moving to better methods, such as trickle field irrigation. This effectively doubles or triples the useful water supply.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    true that... people piss on their fields for lack of water, it's horrible... you should be pissing on your compost to speed it up, not your field, thats how they get diseases, thats probably where aids came from... some dude chopped his hand off accidently and was like "hey I bet the cabbage will love this stuff" it turns out the cabbage did... but it also made people go crazy, and they thought they should start sacrificing people in the fields and using their juice to make their crops grow.... sick
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    true that... people piss on their fields for lack of water, it's horrible... you should be pissing on your compost to speed it up, not your field, thats how they get diseases, thats probably where aids came from... some dude chopped his hand off accidently and was like "hey I bet the cabbage will love this stuff" it turns out the cabbage did... but it also made people go crazy, and they thought they should start sacrificing people in the fields and using their juice to make their crops grow.... sick
    Not a word of that made sense. No one pisses on their field, there are salts in urine. A person wouldn't produce enough urine to irrigate a field anyhow. And I doubt aids is transmitted in this fashion. Urine is sterile and it cannot transmit disease. As for feeding a crop with the drippings from an amputated limb, you have some odd fantasies. Don't detract from a productive conversation with nonsense.
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  15. #14  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    sorry to bother you with the nonesense part of that but it was founded on sound reason I swear
    pee is good: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1008093608.htm

    and as for the blood part, It's sick but it's a very real thing. When you are starving, when a whole community is starving, superstitions arise because people are going crazy. All that needs to happen in such a situation is someone to be like "hey, I think peoples blood will help the crops grow" and everyone will be like "HEY YEAH, RABBLE RABBLE" and the next thing you know they are eating eachother because it didn't work and they've gone this far.

    It isn't an anthropological fact, but I am sure not too many want to study such things. It is clear though that there are sick people in this world, I may be one of them, but you don't have to worry about me fertilizing my crops with you... yet
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  16. #15  
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    A little less factual I imagine but okay then, I prefer non-profane formally spoken responses though.
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  17. #16  
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    Urine is not used for irrigation, but as fertilizer and even then it should be diluted 5:1 or 10:1 in water. You're not simply going to pee in your garden which can cause "fertilizer burn". Pure urine can be hazardous for plants and used to kill weeds.

    Properly utilized, it can be especially benificial for leafy, above ground growing plants like cabbage. Urine contains alot of nitrogen, phosphorus and potasium. Also ok when mixed into fertilizer. I think i'll give it a try.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    I guess it's an ignorant misnomer maybe but I've heard of people who do pee and poo in their fields. I assumed they did it in the valleys between rows, not on the rows. I don't think this would cause burn because it disperses across such a wide area before reaching roots, it has mixed with the moisture already in the soil by then.

    Whatever, I'm not saying it is good, I'm just saying that it may not be as harmful as it sounds. In such places, if you are worried about water shortage, you aren't going to have a huge pee in the morning, you don't have enough water in you to do so. Volume has something to do with it.

    Still I prefer to pee on my compost pile, it helps it do it's thing.
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    Another option, though it's yet to be built, promises fresh water and energy from waves.

    " Burning the Tide
    Alan Burns made a fortune in the oil business. But as oil wanes, heís convinced that clean energy will beómust beóthe next big thing. And so this inventor has poured his fortune into a challenge far greater than finding new oil deposits: extracting energy from the ocean
    By Kalee Thompson Posted 09.25.2008 at 11:33 am 9 Comments



    THE CLEAN-WATER CONUNDRUM

    Although Burns is confident that CETO will someday generate thousands of megawatts of emission-free electricity, heís relying on a far more immediate need in the fossil-fuel-rich desert state of Western Australia to get his project started: water. ...
    http://www.popsci.com/kalee-thompson...ng-tide?page=4
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  20. #19  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    While I agree with you that ocean wave power has an amazing future, and has the potential to produce vast amounts of clean energy, I trust you are aware that the CETO plant is merely a pilot trial plant, and that the various methods of extracting energy from waves to date have an enormous number of problems.

    A number of trials have been run. A common outcome is simply the total destruction of the entire wave power generating plants due to ocean storms. South Australia is on a very rough ocean, facing the giant waves that come up from Antarctica. I wish them well, and hope that they can overcome the problems. However, it is hard to see how their operation could survive the 100 years storms (which seem to come every two or three years!).
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