Video: Water’s Staying Power

Candice Gaukel Andrews May 14, 2015 9
In January 2015, the World Economic Forum announced that the water crisis is the no. 1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation) and the no. 8 global risk based on likelihood to occur within 10 years. ©From the video “Water Facts” by Hound Studio

In January 2015, the World Economic Forum announced that the clean water shortage is the No. 1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation) and the No. 8 global risk based on likelihood to occur within 10 years. ©From the video “Water Facts” by Hound Studio

Water has been in the news this week: especially regarding how we’ll deal with insufficient quantities of it where we need it most—water is heavy and costly to transport—in a world that continues to rapidly warm and with a population that keeps growing.

After my Good Nature Travel post on Tuesday, some readers asked if desalination might be a viable solution for California’s impending scarcity of potable water. According to a recent article in The New York Times, San Diego County is testing out that possibility. The county is building a desalination plant. Unfortunately, however, it’s estimated that the plant will use a huge amount of electricity, thus increasing carbon dioxide emissions, which add to global warming and further strain water supplies.

Desalination of ocean water could also substantially impact sea life, both with the intake of saltwater and the disposal of excess salt into the ocean. Sucking in huge amounts of seawater, for example, can kill billions of fish eggs and larvae. While technical solutions exist, they can increase costs, and it’s not known how diligent regulators will be with desalination plant developers.

Water.org states that around the world, women and children spend 140 million hours per day collecting water. ©From the video “Water Facts” by Hound Studio

Water.org states that around the world, women and children spend 140 million hours per day collecting water. ©From the video “Water Facts” by Hound Studio

Too, some look upon desalination as a salve for our failure to manage freshwater properly—which is what we should have been doing all along. They say we should focus on more aggressively conserving and managing the world’s water. According to a 2009 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report, for the most part, we use water treated to meet drinking standards to flush toilets, water lawns and wash dishes, clothes and cars. In fact, 50-70 percent of home water is used for watering lawns and gardens. Nearly 14 percent of the water a typical homeowner pays for is never even used—it leaks down the drain.

The video below, produced by Hound Studio for General Electric, could be considered Water Facts 101. In three minutes, you’ll be able to learn a lot about the world’s water.

There’s one fact, though, that’s not contained in the video but which I find pretty astounding. There is no “new” water: there is just as much on Earth today as there was when the planet began. Whether the source of your clean water is a lake, river, spring, stream or well, you are using the same water a dinosaur stopped to lap up millions of years ago.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,

Candy

9 Comments »

  1. Neil Marshall May 26, 2015 at 4:37 am - Reply

    Water is the “universal solvent” Most things dumped in have to be somehow removed. Evaporation is most useful in this process. However, it causes concentration of other constitutes, some of which are quite toxic. Drink a gallon of seawater and it would probably kill! Other substances In seawater are quite valuable. There is a fortune in every cubic mile of seawater in the form of gold. However, as it now stands, it takes far more to extract the gold than is the value of the result. There are now over 10,000 desalination plants world wide with many more being established. They are now returning concentrated brine into the worlds oceans!. IS THIS A BAD THING ? ? ?

  2. Travis May 17, 2015 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    That comment was a real stunner, “there is no new water.” I’m still letting that set in.

  3. Ed Mankelow May 17, 2015 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Have you factored in Industrial use? An example would be for Fracking for Coalbed Methane and oil.

    I understand that in the US industrial use is greater than all other uses. In Canada billions of gallons of water are used this way. the water that returns to the surface is no longer water but a toxic soup that has to be stored in ponds and cannot be allowed on land. This is not water that remains in the system.

  4. V. S. Balasubramanian May 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    I learnt in MOOC “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided” by World Bank group hosted in Coursera, that earth is a open system. Due to Green House Effect, earth is gaining more energy (More energy trapped (IR trapped and reflected back to earth bythe green house layer in atmosphere). Where as here, you are telling earth rarely gains or loses extra matter. I also believed that earth mass undergo no change. There is no net gain or loss only change of form like water. But as per climate scientists CO2 rising in atmosphere, Global temperature rising etc meaning contradictory meaning . Where I have gone wrong? Which area I have understood wrong?

  5. Lise Tyrrell May 17, 2015 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Very interesting, thank you for sharing that.

  6. Neil Marshall May 17, 2015 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Candice There are currently about 10,000 desal-plants operating in the world! Israel for example has one able to produce 2 million gallons per day. Its a good thing and a bad thing. In other countries the desire and need to consider environmental concerns may often be over shadowed by other practical issues such as cost and be less stringent and consequently less concerned about environment issues. Since you mentioned San Diego, you should know that it is a world wide locus for the production of desalination plant components. What to do ? ? ?

  7. Len Rosen May 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    What’s missing from the video is the how. The best minds are working on what to change the planet from freshwater scarcity to abundance. What happens when the number is no longer 7.4 billion but 9 billion plus?

  8. Mike Hagarty CD May 15, 2015 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Think about it, don’t waste! Enjoy it!

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