Thursday, June 5, 2008

Waterworld Without Kevin Cosner

One hundred and nineteen days...

...and I'm behind schedule by a week.

I've been thinking about the future and writing. Yemen will be out of water by 2020 (NPR report a few years ago). Desalinization plant that Saudi Arabia is thinking of building on their side of the border is tentatively schedule to go on like in 2023 (Something I read from an online UN report years ago). Sucks if you live in Yemen, but I wonder if a proliferation of desalinization plants for the thristy corners of the world will off-set the rising sea water caused by global warming? (Rick skips the sensitive issue of its causes and cyclical nature.)

With the population and farming sucking up more and more of the available fresh water, I would have to think that desalination will have to start on some massive scale. Imagine central Australia watered and a breadbasket to the world. Imagine the interior African countries getting their water via pipelines from the ocean. Maybe Lake Chad (once the fourth largest lake in the world now the size of a large pond) will be filled up again. I'm sure I smell a corporate conspiracy and a different wave of water terrorism coming out of this as well as some hope in some far off desert country who discovers it has a 120B barrel oil reserve and bargains for the water.

Write on, writers.

1 comment:

FARfetched said...

Desalination is easy. All it takes is enough energy to boil the salt water. In places like Saudi Arabia, they can (and do) use solar concentrators to do it. I'm not sure if the desal plant in Tampa is solar or not.

Potential conflicts could involve energy (why use mirrors? we have all this natural gas), tourism (you ain't putting that monstrosity on MY beach!), fisheries (you're killing the fish with that brine discharge!).

I don't think that desal, even if it were to supply a significant fraction of drinking/irrigation water, would have much of an effect on sea levels. One inch of rain over a square mile is like 16 million gallons of water (I did a back-of-the-envelope a while back), so a line of thunderstorms probably carries the equivalent of a day's drinking water for the entire US.

I might be able to work something into FAR Future along these lines.