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Water Wars: Mormons Vs Las Vegas

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So now 110 years later when mother nature starts to return the basin to its natural origins people complain. Why? I'm not saying it is not a serious problem. But the Salton Sea is not going return to it former glory, any time soon.

I see that you are taking a short-term view of "natural origins."  In fact, that basin was once a large lake, long before the Colorado River flooded the area.  Amerinds used to live along the shoreline, and partook of the rich ecosystem.  Humans have the technical capacity to bring it back in style, but will only do so after a reasonable cost-benefit analysis (something the naysayers refuse to consider).

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I see that you are taking a short-term view of "natural origins."  In fact, that basin was once a large lake, long before the Colorado River flooded the area.  Amerinds used to live along the shoreline, and partook of the rich ecosystem.  Humans have the technical capacity to bring it back in style, but will only do so after a reasonable cost-benefit analysis (something the naysayers refuse to consider).

 

Not so much.

SEE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Cahuilla

 

Native peoples harvested a range of resources associated with Lake Cahuilla in the otherwise-parched Colorado Desert. Prominent were freshwater fish (primarily bonytail, Gila elegans, and razorback sucker, Xyrauchen texanus), freshwater mussels (Anodonta dejecta), water birds (particularly American coot (Fulica americana), and marsh plants (cattail, Typha, tule, Scirpus, and reed, Phragmites). Researchers have disagreed as to how important the role of Lake Cahuilla resources was within native subsistence strategies, and consequently how dramatically the lake's rises and falls shaped the region's late prehistory. Some have envisioned many permanent or semi-permanent settlements on the shores, producing severe regional upheavals when their supporting resources disappeared, while other researchers have seen the lake as only a marginal area within stable regional subsistence patterns (e.g., Aschmann 1959; M. Weide 1976; Wilke 1978; Schaefer 1994; Laylander 2006).

 

Ps; Where are you going to get all that fresh water to refill the basin?

Edited by thesometimesaint

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There is a lot of variables there to unpack. I'll try to unpack a few.

1. Desalination is very energy intensive.

2. Much depends on how long this drought last. We're close to our 5th year of drought here in California. If it ends next year desalination becomes spending good money after bad. 500 years of drought, and we have had those in the past . The discussion becomes academic.

3. Because water rights issues who gets the water is always the question. The tomato farmer may get nothing while his next door neighbor the almond farmer get all he wants. Almonds are very water intensive at over 100 gallons per almond.

4. The privatization of water is a political issue with tremendous potential for conflict. The western US is no stranger to water wars. Do we really want to tell a person you can't have water?

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The biggest problem is environmental.  It is energy intensive.  Environmentalist would get serious apoplexy.

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The biggest problem is environmental.  It is energy intensive.  Environmentalist would get serious apoplexy.

 

It's a cost/benefit analysis. Do the proposed benefits outweigh the known cost?

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It's a cost/benefit analysis. Do the proposed benefits outweigh the known cost?

 

For rational folks yes but for environmentalists??

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Or Californians could get rid of their abortion clinics, dens of iniquity, start paying their tithing and put on sack cloth. Maybe that would help.  

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For rational folks yes but for environmentalists??

 

I can't speak for anyone but myself. I consider myself an environmentalist. I also know how to do a spreadsheet. If the numbers don't work then there is nothing to save it.

Edited by thesometimesaint

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Here's a success story from Orange County, California.  http://news.yahoo.com/orange-county-offers-model-places-140129723.html .

 

The biggest factor in using waste water is public acceptance. Gray water(showers, bath tubs, and the like) for use on golf courses, fire protection, non food crops, and the like should be an easy sell. We're dong it my little community just east of San Bernardino. Black water(toilets) has many more problems, but I think it should be solvable. I'm not sold on the idea of desalination of ocean water except in very rare situations  Of course a lot depends on how long this drought lasts. We can probably make the necessary, but difficult, adjustments in lifestyle if it ends in a couple of more years. If we're at the start of a 500 year drought, and we've had those before. Then large numbers of people will just have to move.

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I wonder if the wave power of the ocean could be harnessed to power desalinators.

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I wonder if the wave power of the ocean could be harnessed to power desalinators.

 

Desalinization processes are major power users.  Anything that can create enough power can be used and there are some novel technologies available today.  What they do with all of the salt by-product is a challenge.   Many groups put it right back in the ocean, increasing salinity and concentrating other pollutants while others do a better job. 

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I can't speak for anyone but myself. I consider myself an environmentalist. I also know how to do a spreadsheet. If the numbers don't work then there is nothing to save it.

 

How do weigh measure the actual value of water, though?  Especially in a global economy that is set to serve atleast 11 billion by 2050 with hopefully growing proportions consuming more as they work out of poverty and extreme poverty?

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How do weigh measure the actual value of water, though?  Especially in a global economy that is set to serve atleast 11 billion by 2050 with hopefully growing proportions consuming more as they work out of poverty and extreme poverty?

 

Lots depends on the weather. Simply pumping more water is a short term solution to a long term problem. There are very real economic and environmental constraints. IE; If the cost of that water exceeds the benefits of that water. Nothing is going to be saved just by pumping more of it.

 

In many advanced industrial countries the native population is actually declining. It is the influx of immigrants that is sociologically keeping them afloat. It is also a cost that for right now can be solved. However a greatly increased population would of necessity put those economies into rapid decline. IE; In the idea of the Law of Diminishing Returns. Say, If one farmer can successfully provided for his family then two farmers on the same land can successfully provide for their families. But what happens when we put 3, 4, 5, 6 or more farmers on the same land? Pretty soon none of those farmers is going to be successful.They either move or go hungry. 

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Lots depends on the weather. Simply pumping more water is a short term solution to a long term problem. There are very real economic and environmental constraints. IE; If the cost of that water exceeds the benefits of that water. Nothing is going to be saved just by pumping more of it.

In many advanced industrial countries the native population is actually declining. It is the influx of immigrants that is sociologically keeping them afloat. It is also a cost that for right now can be solved. However a greatly increased population would of necessity put those economies into rapid decline. IE; In the idea of the Law of Diminishing Returns. Say, If one farmer can successfully provided for his family then two farmers on the same land can successfully provide for their families. But what happens when we put 3, 4, 5, 6 or more farmers on the same land? Pretty soon none of those farmers is going to be successful.They either move or go hungry.

The 11 billion number is based on the fact that the global fertility rate has already stabilised. In other words, we'll increase to that much, not bc of increasing birthratrs but because the populatiin from existing rates will live longer.

The highest fertility rates in the world can be found in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where, by no coincidence, infant mortality rates are among the highest. Africa, though, has a great deal of untapped agri potential. Much more development can be expected as more post-Colonial countries stabilize.

Anyways, something demographers are seeing in many countries is that fertility rates drop to around 2 when women become educated and standard of living increases. This, even at relatively poor and therefore low consumption levels.

The point here is that freshwater is in limited supply. As economies and consumption levels shift around the world, but are also stressed and stretched, the survival-based as opposed to corporate-based demand may shift our paradigms. Our willingness to invest for more "water security" could be greatly enhanced. At least, that's basically what I was considering when I asked thr question.

I think your farm analogy may prove more and more apt, but on a global scale. But it will be the hyperconsumers who will snd should feel the moral pressure to better steward their usage, to afford room in the developed world for everyone else.

Btw the pop numbers were excellently presented by statistician Hans Rosling in "Don't Panic."

Edited by Meadowchik

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The 11 billion number is based on the fact that the global fertility rate has already stabilised. In other words, we'll increase to that much, not bc of increasing birthratrs but because the populatiin from existing rates will live longer.

The highest fertility rates in the world can be found in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where, by no coincidence, infant mortality rates are among the highest. Africa, though, has a great deal of untapped agri potential. Much more development can be expected as more post-Colonial countries stabilize.

Anyways, something demographers are seeing in many countries is that fertility rates drop to around 2 when women become educated and standard of living increases. This, even at relatively poor and therefore low consumption levels.

The point here is that freshwater is in limited supply. As economies and consumption levels shift around the world, but are also stressed and stretched, the survival-based as opposed to corporate-based demand may shift our paradigms. Our willingness to invest for more "water security" could be greatly enhanced. At least, that's basically what I was considering when I asked thr question.

I think your farm analogy may prove more and more apt, but on a global scale. But it will be the hyperconsumers who will snd should feel the moral pressure to better steward their usage, to afford room in the developed world for everyone else.

Btw the pop numbers were excellently presented by statistician Hans Rosling in "Don't Panic."

 

Whether it is birth rates or death rates if the results are the same it makes little difference in the outcomes. It takes about 2.3 children per couple to maintain a steady population. 2 is too few and 3 is too many. I have yet to see 0.7 of a child. I can see a reasonable world of about 4 billion people living in relative prosperity. I can't see it with less than a billion or over 11 billion. How we achieve that goal is the question. I agree. I think the best way is the education of women. All indications are that as women get more education birthrates and death rates go down.

 

Agriculture is key, but rain forests have little actual fertility in the ground. It is tied up in the forest canopy. Slash and Burn technologies produce a short lived surplus then farms must be moved or more expensive technologies employed. The Savannah of Africa presents some interesting possibility. Though I pretty such the wildlife there wouldn't do well under American style mono-culture. IE; The Highland Gorilla is all but gone because of human population pressures. Plus in mono-culture agricultural genetic variability is lost. So the diseases/pests that would normally have limited access become BIG problems. My goal is to not to feed people for a few years but to feed them for many generations.

 

Believe me I have plenty of arguments with corporate based demand in the US. By the same token mere survival shouldn't be our only goal. Sure we could probably survive with 11 billion people, maybe even 4 times that. According to some estimates I've seen we could. But who in their right mind would want to.

 

Again lots depends on the weather. More broadly speaking "Climate". IE; I live in California. If this is the end of a 3-5 year long(depending on whose counting) drought, then serious consideration should be given to even more conservation and sources of clean water. If it is just the beginnings of a 500 year long drought, and we've had those before. Then a lot of people are going to have to move or they will die until the resources meet the demand.

 

I'm all for being better stewards of our resources, using less, doing more with that less, and conserving the difference. I also put my money where my mouth is. Among with a whole list of things I do I produce about 95% of my own electricity. In fact right now I'm producing more electricity than I'm using, and feeding the extra back into The Grid.

 

Panic never did anyone any good. It actually prevents logical actions from being taken. As the Vulcan's say "Live long and prosper.". :)

Edited by thesometimesaint

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..................................................................................................

 

Again lots depends on the weather. More broadly speaking "Climate". IE; I live in California. If this is the end of a 3-5 year long(depending on whose counting) drought, then serious consideration should be given to even more conservation and sources of clean water. If it is just the beginnings of a 500 year long drought, and we've had those before. Then a lot of people are going to have to move or they will die until the resources meet the demand.

Climate change and Malthus will probably have more to say about the future population of Earth than any other single principle.  Even though north America will not suffer the huge dislocations which other continents are headed for.

 

I'm all for being better stewards of our resources, using less, doing more with that less, and conserving the difference. I also put my money where my mouth is. Among with a whole list of things I do I produce about 95% of my own electricity. In fact right now I'm producing more electricity than I'm using, and feeding the extra back into The Grid.

 

.........................................................................

Wonderful.  However, unless this becomes more of a national ethos (as it is in Germany), we will still find ourselves behind the eight-ball.

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Climate change and Malthus will probably have more to say about the future population of Earth than any other single principle.  Even though north America will not suffer the huge dislocations which other continents are headed for.

 

Wonderful.  However, unless this becomes more of a national ethos (as it is in Germany), we will still find ourselves behind the eight-ball.

 

Malthus had some good ideas, but I'm not convinced that he appreciated the human spirit for innovation and change. Especially when needed. We can overcome the problems associated with climate change, even if we can't totally reverse the process. What we lack is the political will to do so. I'm actually optimistic. Which is a big change from my usual pessimism. :)

 

I agree we'll not suffer to the same degree that other continents will. But I still hate seeing anyone suffer even if I suffer less.

 

I'm just one person, but I do try to convince others that solving problems is better than wringing our hands and saying that there's nothing that can be done. I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination.  However I feel blessed to have the economic resources to do what I do, not everyone is that fortunate. That being said we all can do something. Nearly everyone can turn off an unused light bulb; Fix, or have fixed, a leaky faucet; Keep the tires in their car properly inflated. Every little bit helps.  :good:

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Climate change and Malthus will probably have more to say about the future population of Earth than any other single principle.  Even though north America will not suffer the huge dislocations which other continents are headed for.

 

Wonderful.  However, unless this becomes more of a national ethos (as it is in Germany), we will still find ourselves behind the eight-ball.

 

Malthus was wrong.

 

The closest correlation to high fertility rates is infant mortality.  People used to have children and only be able to expect 2 or 3 to survive into adulthood, if any.  Look at the countries today with the highest infant morality rates and you will also find the highest fertility rates.

 

Furthermore, the human body also has its own birth control feature.  Fertility decreases with malnourishment.  Thus, in a time of famine, generally, we would lose our fat and wouldn't be able to get pregnant.

Edited by Meadowchik

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Malthus had some good ideas, but I'm not convinced that he appreciated the human spirit for innovation and change. Especially when needed. We can overcome the problems associated with climate change, even if we can't totally reverse the process. What we lack is the political will to do so. I'm actually optimistic. Which is a big change from my usual pessimism. :)

 

I agree we'll not suffer to the same degree that other continents will. But I still hate seeing anyone suffer even if I suffer less.

 

I'm just one person, but I do try to convince others that solving problems is better than wringing our hands and saying that there's nothing that can be done. I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination.  However I feel blessed to have the economic resources to do what I do, not everyone is that fortunate. That being said we all can do something. Nearly everyone can turn off an unused light bulb; Fix, or have fixed, a leaky faucet; Keep the tires in their car properly inflated. Every little bit helps.  :good:

 

Actually, we (as in, the US) might be suffering more than in many in the developing world. They might have the advantage of seeking the right balance as they grow, as opposed to us in the developed nations being forced to cut back our overconsumption addictions.

 

In any case, one triumph gained over Malthus is the fact that, in terms of population, people tend to find a balance on their own once they have access to resources and the freedom to seek them.  They do not need to be forced or controlled in order to prevent overpopulating the planet.  I'm hoping that we take a lesson from that, and as we see a need to shift resource consumption, we in the relatively wealthy countries can focus more of our attentions on good experiences and personal growth, rather than on accumulating stuff and eating too much.  Not because anyone made us do, but because we want happiness.

 

:)

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Actually, we (as in, the US) might be suffering more than in many in the developing world. They might have the advantage of seeking the right balance as they grow, as opposed to us in the developed nations being forced to cut back our overconsumption addictions.

 

In any case, one triumph gained over Malthus is the fact that, in terms of population, people tend to find a balance on their own once they have access to resources and the freedom to seek them.  They do not need to be forced or controlled in order to prevent overpopulating the planet.  I'm hoping that we take a lesson from that, and as we see a need to shift resource consumption, we in the relatively wealthy countries can focus more of our attentions on good experiences and personal growth, rather than on accumulating stuff and eating too much.  Not because anyone made us do, but because we want to.

 

 

Lots depends on the country in question. We're the 2nd largest economy, the third by population. and the third biggest country in geographic size in the world.  So anything that we do, or happens to us, has a big effect. We're so big that overall we'll do relatively better than most. But that is no consolation to me. Small but relatively rich countries will tend to do better, but that's not an absolute in every case. IE; Denmark and Holland are probably lost causes. While Sweden and Switzerland will probably be relatively OK.

 

I've been poor and I've been middle class. Middle class is better.  :good:  I think we all should have a certain amount of stuff beyond just survival//subsistence necessities. 

 

Malthus was right in some ways. His is a prediction of a forced return to subsistence-level conditions once population growth has outpaced agricultural growth. That is factually true. Since the Industrial Revolution we've been relying on non-replenishable resources(Coal, oil, natural gas, or as Thom Hartmann calls them "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight") to power and feed a rapidly expanding population. I don't think that Malthus appreciated just how resourceful people can be if need be. About 80% of the non-transportation power a home uses is for the heating of water. If we use a solar water heater to do the lions share of heating of water. Then that coal, oil, natural gas can be used for other purposes or not used at all. If we generate our own electricity using solar, or small scale hydroelectric, where applicable, that greatly reduces demand for the non-replenishables. 

 

Malthus was not talking about forced in the sociological sense of the word. He was using in the sense of nature balancing itself on its own time scale. Which probably wouldn't please many people because of the ways she does it. IE; Starvation, malnutrition, and disease.

 

Agreed; We do need to pay more attention to good experiences and personal grow. Over-attention to materialism is not a good  thing. I won't get into the avaricious.  B:)

Edited by thesometimesaint

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Malthus was wrong.

 

The closest correlation to high fertility rates is infant mortality.  People used to have children and only be able to expect 2 or 3 to survive into adulthood, if any.  Look at the countries today with the highest infant morality rates and you will also find the highest fertility rates.

 

Furthermore, the human body also has its own birth control feature.  Fertility decreases with malnourishment.  Thus, in a time of famine, generally, we would lose our fat and wouldn't be able to get pregnant.

Those environmental and biological tendencies do work well over time, but with the current rate of climate change onset we won't have time enough to adjust adequately.  Malthusian catastrophism will be the result (all four horsemen of the Apocalypse) with the death and dislocation of millions.  The increased heat alone will kill millions, not to mention that the reduced snowfall and melting glaciers in the Himalayas are likely to reduce river flow into India, China, and southeast Asia -- the most populous areas in the world.  Taken together with rising ocean levels and storm surges (making Holland, the south Pacific islands, and Bangladesh largely uninhabitable), we will see vast changes which we will not be able to accommodate.  In several cases, war will be the immediate result.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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