Water: Elixir of life is in short supply

It is no joke that the future world wars may be fought over access to WATER and not oil. While the scientist in me gets excited about properties of this colorless, odorless material, which is the only material found in nature in all 3 physical states (I have published some papers on phase transitions of aqueous particles), it is the more human, the more thirsty-quenching aspects of this drink that fascinate me more. Clean healthy water is essential for human health, and yet it is in short supply in many parts of the world. We have learnt since primary school days that about 72% of the fat free mass of the human body is made of water, but something I learnt not too long ago indicates that in order to function properly, the body requires between one and seven litres of water per day to avoid dehydration. My personal goal: drink 4-7 large glasses of water a day.

Societies around the world consume water in many different ways, from drinking and cooking of foods to irrigation, construction, personal hygiene, travel, recreation, etc. This post is not a lengthy article on properties or uses of the liquid that is the essence of life, but just to point out (a) how important water is to us, (b) how many people on this earth have no access to clean drinking water, (c) how water has become an expensive commodity even in the developed world, (d) the need for conservation of water, (d) a threat to geo-political stability in the case of wars over water, and (e) need for new technological enhancements and investments to secure clean water for the world.

Access to healthy drinking water:
Finding and using healthy water has been one of the more basic challenges of humanity ever since the civilizations began settling down. No wonder all major towns, cities in history were built around rivers or other water sources. That need remains, and even though some technologies allowed us to direct water into areas further away from the point sources, it can safely be said that civilizations will flourish or flail depending on their ability to utilize this wonderful nature resource. From major port cities to agricultural havens, water continues to be the fuel that feeds civilization. When water becomes scarce (for example famine and drought in part of Africa) or over runs the land (for example the floods in Bangladesh), mankind suffers terribly. For researchers, there is a wonderful repository on access to clean water on the web at http://www.worldwater.org/.

Water fit for human consumption is called drinking water or “potable water”. Water that is not specifically made for drinking, but is not harmful for humans when used for food preparation is called safe water.

This natural resource is becoming scarcer in certain places, and its availability is a major social and economic concern.

Currently, about 1 billion people around the world routinely drink unhealthy water. Most countries have accepted the goal of halving by 2015 the number of people worldwide who do not have access to safe water and sanitation during the 2003 G8 Evian summit [8]. Even if this difficult goal is met, it will still leave more than an estimated half a billion people without access to safe drinking water supplies and over 1 billion without access to adequate sanitation facilities. Poor water quality and bad sanitation are killers; some 5 million deaths a year are caused by polluted drinking water.

That is hardly surprising, since in the developing world, 90% of all wastewater still goes untreated into local rivers and streams. Some 50 countries, with roughly a third of the world’s population, also suffer from medium or high water stress, and 17 of these extract more water annually than is recharged through their natural water cycles. The strain affects surface freshwater bodies like rivers and lakes, but it also degrades groundwater resources.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water

Politics of war:
If you and I worry about the conflict in Middle East raging over holy lands and religion, try imagining wars over access to water resources. It is no surprise that a large strategic goal of Israel’s re-drawing of the borders with the illegal wall is to secure water and agricultural resources (Israel already controls 90% of the water in Palestine and gets 5 times as much water per person as Palestine). The Middle East region has only 1% of the world’s available fresh water, which is shared between 5% of the world’s population. Thus, in this region, water is an important strategic resource. By 2025, it is predicted that the countries of the Arabian peninsula will be using more than double the amount of water naturally available to them. India and Pakistan are no different. With all of Pakistan’s rivers starting in the Kashmir region, the conflict in that region has as much to do (or more) with long term strategic interests in natural resources than anything else.

Because of overpopulation in many regions of the world, mass consumption and water pollution, the availability of drinking water per capita is inadequate and shrinking as of the year 2006. For this reason, water is a strategic resource in the globe, and an important element in many political conflicts. Some have predicted that clean water will become the “next oil”, making Canada, with this resource in abundance, possibly the richest country in the world. There is a long history of conflict over water, including efforts to gain access to water, the use of water in wars started for other reasons, and tensions over shortages and control [9]. UNESCO‘s World Water Development Report (WWDR, 2003) from its World Water Assessment Program indicates that, in the next 20 years, the quantity of water available to everyone is predicted to decrease by 30%. 40% of the world’s inhabitants currently have insufficient fresh water for minimal hygiene. More than 2.2 million people died in 2000 from diseases related to the consumption of contaminated water or drought. In 2004, the UK charity WaterAid reported that a child dies every 15 seconds due to easily preventable water-related diseases. Fresh water, now more precious than ever in our history for its extensive use in agriculture, high-tech manufacturing, and energy production, is increasingly receiving attention as a resource requiring better management and sustainable use.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water

Water Consumption:
Clean water is produced at natural sources (springs, lakes etc), or has to be cleaned via technical measures (such as reverse osmosis to clean sea-water). In many societies, availability of clean water is still considered the government’s responsibility, but that has been changing fast as market based mechanisms have taken root. The lack of new and readily accessible natural sources, as well as the lack of infrastructure to bring clean water to the users, has led to a burgeoning of the bottled water industry. The Independent reports that just in the UK, the water industry is currently valued at 1.9 billion euros. “Tap water costs a tiny fraction of bottled water, typically about a thousandth of the price at £1 per 1,000 litres. By contrast, the average cost of a single litre of bottled water is 90p” (Source: The Independent).Water is more expensive than beer or even petrol in the gas stations, and with the global warming starting to show present and clear signs in our weather, the price of water is only expected to go up. No surprise then that the largest bottlers of the world (Coca-Cola and Pepsi/Nabisco) are now holding major stakes in water companies. Even Starbucks has bought a water-company (Ethos), trying to put on a softer image by advertising that some portion of their revenue is used to help poverty-stricken Africans. A list of US bottlers is available at the portal for bottled water industry.

Drinking water is often collected at springs, extracted from artificial borings in the ground, or wells. Building more wells in adequate places is thus a possible way to produce more water assuming the aquifers can supply an adequate flow. Other water sources are rainwater and river or lake water. This surface water, however, must be purified for human consumption. This may involve removal of undissolved substances, dissolved substances and harmful microbes. Popular methods are filtering with sand which only removes undissolved material while chlorination and boiling kill harmful microbes. Distillation does all three functions. More advanced techniques exist, such as reverse osmosis. Desalination of abundant ocean or seawater is a more expensive solution used in coastal arid climates.

The distribution of drinking water is done through municipal water systems or as bottled water. Governments in many countries have programs to distribute water to the needy at no charge. Others argue that the market mechanism and free enterprise are best to manage this rare resource, and to finance the boring of wells or the construction of dams and reservoirs.

Reducing waste, that is using drinking water only for human consumption, is another option. In some cities, such as Hong Kong, sea water is extensively used for flushing toilets citywide in order to conserve fresh water resources. Polluting water may be the biggest single misuse of water; to the extent that a pollutant limits other uses of the water, it becomes a waste of the resource, regardless of benefits to the polluter. As other types of pollution, this does not enter standard accounting of market costs, being conceived as externalities for which the market can not account for. Thus other people pay the price of this water pollution, while the private firms’ profits are not redistributed to the local population victim of this pollution. Pharmaceuticals consumed by humans often end up in the waterways and can have detrimental effects on aquatic life if they bioaccumulate and if they are not biodegradable.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water

New Technologies:
The field of water cleanup and supply is not a new one, but one that is certainly gathering tremendous momentum around the world. It is not just the technologists who are eager to identify new ways of producing and transporting clean water, but both early stage VC and late stage equity investorsare also starting to take notice. VC and private equity funds in Middle East are eager to invest in the future of water in the region, but there are also investment opportunities in cleaning up water for developing countries (for example using catalysis or molecular membranes to remove arsenic from wells in Bangladesh and elsewhere). In the report, “Evaluation of the Costs and Benefits of Water and Sanitation Improvements at the Global Level”, by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in New York, it is estimated that an additional investment of around US$ 11.3 billion per year over and above current investments could result in a total economic benefit of US$ 84 billion annually. That means “the economic benefits would range from US$ 3 to US$ 34 per US$ 1 invested, depending on the region. Additional reductions in exposure to contaminated drinking-water, such as through household-level disinfection, would lead to an overall benefit ranging from US$ 5 to US$ 60 per US$ 1 invested”, the report estimates.

Water conservation has also evolved from a personal endeavor to a corporate one. It is no surprise that some more forward thinking companies, such as Genzyme, have already developed factory and office facilities which recycle water, while others are looking at water and other clean technologies closely in their development path. MIT has introduced mechanisms for collecting storm water on its buildings and utilizing them for indoor use, research is underway for sensor chips to detect the quality of water for drinking and other laboratory/industrial purposes, and drip irrigation technology is gaining acceptance worldwide. Closer to Pakistan, LUMS University in Lahore is starting a new School of Science and Engineering (with which I am proud to be associated with), and one of the priorities on their list is to establish a center for research on energy, environment and water. If you are more interested, following are some of the hot topics in the industry (Source: http://www.wateronline.com):

So where are we left then?
Clearly there is a shortage of water, and given that most of the world barely earns about $1 or 1euro per day, there is no way that bottled water of the sort that is currently sold in rich capitals of the world (ans also in the developing world for the rich), can be used to satisfy the need of 6 billion+ people in this world. There is a need for technologies that can refine, recycle, reuse, and efficiently transport water from all kinds of sources including lakes, streams, rivers, sea, oceans, rain and even our own sewage and rainage systems. The technologies have to be affordable, robust and available en mass. Perhaps many water technologies will not be universally applicable, but even ones designed for local systems or habitats would do, as long as they realize that in the long term, nature conserves mass and the only way to sustainabily use this natural resource is to find ways to recycle it. On a personal level, we all need to understand the importance and value of this natural resource, and as the learning goes, we have to find ways to reduce the amount of water we use and waste. As for the geo-politics, the aggressors and the greedy will always want more – and we just have to resist them. Humanity has to resist hoarding of this precious global resource. The world cannot really afford to have water become the next oil.

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23 Responses to Water: Elixir of life is in short supply

  1. […] I had written earlier on the water crisis that is slowly developing across the globe. Here’s a tidbit I found interesting in the media. Read the full article here. World’s Water Resources Face Mounting Pressure Elizabeth Mygatt, Earth Policy Institute  […]

  2. krispydixie says:

    very nice article. Insightful and comprehensive. Well done 🙂

    this is an important issue…

  3. […] I have written about the problems of water shortage before. Water is most certainly going to be the most important commodity in the future, not only because it is becoming scarcer to find in drinkable and pottable quality, but also because the ever increasing world population is finding many uses for it outside of drinking as well. […]

  4. In this water-shortage emerging world of today, credit must be given to good folks who are actually doing work on two fronts; one to highlight the importance of drinking water, and the other, is to emphasize the importance of sanitation, to preserve the quality of available water resources.

  5. emco says:

    Water is life, people should drink more, and better if it is filtered, check this site http://www.emcopure.com

  6. HARNESSING OCEAN WAVE ENERGY FOR MANKIND!
    To whom it may concern,

    Dur During a 40 year career as an entrepreneur, a consulting coach to emerging entrepreneurs and as an investor in more than 20 technology ventures, I have never encountered a venture with a more compelling Value Proposition than the one I am about to describe. In testimony to this project, I willingly abandoned retirement, when during my formulation of a business plan for Ocean Energy Systems Inc (OES), I came to the conclusion that whether one is in search of investment return or humanitarian opportunity, it is difficult to find a project that could benefit so many and yet achieve venture capital return, as providing one of Earth’s most valuable commodities – potable water to those who don’t have access to this life sustaining element.
    Enclosed herewith, please find OES’s Executive Summary” and two background articles describing the need to desalinate seawater entitled “Drying for a ‘Drink of Clean Water”, “OES’s and “Why a Bull Market For Water prices is Inevitable”
    OES’ Product, the Amplified Wave Energy Conversion System (AWECS) is a patent applied- for “breakthrough technology” which has been tested in sea trials in the rugged North Atlantic off the coast of Ireland. The AWECS uses renewable ocean wave energy as its power source, thereby contributing zero carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Shore Side pricing for AWECS produced water is projected to be $0.65/Cu. Meter, based on a 20 year product financing life at 10 % APR. These projected potable water prices are 65% of the average worldwide land based 5 billon gal. /day desalinization prices!

    I believe that a review of the attached material, including a visit to OES’s animated web site, at http://www.oceanenergysys.com (currently being upgraded) will justify that the statements we made above are conservative. To be sure, there is risk involved but given the quality and experience of OES’s team, the market potential, the Intellectual Property Rights and the humanitarian and financial return make the $3 million required to develop a commercial model of the AWECS and the aggregate $10 million, required to achieve corporate breakeven provide an attractive and achievable investment opportunity (Projected 50% CRR) for organizations driven by Double Bottom Line philosophies. This funding will position OES for corporate acquisition or an Initial Public offering (IPO) in a 5-7 year time frame, measured from the date that the demonstration model financing is received.
    Assuming that you would like to take a next step, we have prepared a 30 minute Value Proposition Power Point Presentation that we would like to show you in person, at an early date.
    I will call your office during the week of July 23rd to see if OES’s project is of interest to you.
    Sincerely,
    Brian Cunningham, CEO
    Ocean Energy Systems Inc.
    8608 Chateau Dr.
    Potomac MD, 20854
    Brian@cunningham.net
    (301) 365 0250

    .
    Dying for A Drink of Clean Water
    Jan Eliasson and Susan Blumenthal, Washington Post, September 20, 2005.
    In the United States and Europe, people take it for granted that when they turn on their taps, clean water will flow out. But for those living in U.S. cities devastated by Hurricane Katrina, as in large parts of the world, obtaining safe water requires a con¬stant struggle. .
    Water is essential to all aspects of life, yet 99 percent of water on Earth is unsafe or unavailable to drink. About 1.2 billion people globally lack safe water to consume and 2.6 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. There are also stark comparisons: Just one flush of a toilet in the West uses more water than most Africans have to perform an entire day’s washing, cleaning, cooking and drinking. Ensuring access to safe water worldwide is imperative. Water is an economic issue since it is essential for poverty reduction, agriculture, food and energy production, as well as recreation. It is a women’s issue in the developing world because women have primary responsibility for household water gathering in many of these countries. Time spent hauling water robs women and girls of getting an education or engaging in’ I meaningful work. It is a children’s issue because water is essential for healthy development. A youngster dies every eight sec¬onds from water-borne disease. And. Water is a national security issue because some of the world’s conflicts today arise from dis¬putes over arable land and water. The trag¬edy in Darfur, for example; was driven in no small part by tensions over access to water.
    But most of all, water is a fundamental I global health issue. Unsafe water and sanitization is now the single largest cause of ill¬ness worldwide, just as it. has been a major threat to the health of .people affected by Hurricane Katrina. A recent U.N. report has estimated that: at least 2 million people, most of them children, die annually from water-borne dis¬eases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, guinea worm and hepatitis as well as such illnesses as malaria and West Nile I virus carried by mosquitoes that breed in stagnant water.
    • . Many of the 10 million child deaths that occurred last year were linked to unsafe wa¬ter and lack of sanitation. Children can’t fight off infections if their broken and weak¬ened by water-borne diseases.
    • Over half the hospital beds in the developing world are occupied by people suffering from preventable diseases caused by unsafe water and inadequate sanitation.

    If action is not taken now, 135 million people could die of water-related diseases I by the year 2020. That is a larger number than those expected to fall victim to the HIV / AIDS pandemic, a catastrophe that has already killed 23 million people world¬wide. Furthermore, water plays a critical role in this disease since many deaths from AIDS are linked to illnesses resulting from dehydration and diarrhea caused by unsafe water. The United Nations has set a Millennium Development Goal, – to be reached by 2015 – of reducing by half the percentage of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. There is a long way to go to reach this goal. That’s why the U.N. General Assembly has declared the next 10 years to be the International Dec¬ade for Action on “Water for Life” to focus attention on this vital issue.When poor people are asked what would most improve their lives, water and sanita¬tion is repeatedly one of their highest priorities. We should heed their call. The recent decision by the leaders of the Group of – Eight nations to double economic assis¬tance for Africa has the potential to help if a significant portion of this aid goes to ad-dress the problems of water and sanitation. Developing countries should involve their citizens in decision making about how best to get improved water and sanitation ser¬vices to their people. And developed nations should work with the ideas and aspi¬rations of those countries and people they are seeking to help – particularly women – so that improvements can be sustained over the long term.
    Nations in both the developing and de¬veloped world must share knowledge and experiences in public education, disease prevention, emergency response strategies, the application of new technologies and training. A global coalition of organiza¬tions, businesses and individuals must be mobilized across the public and/private sec¬tors for infrastructure development and in¬novation.
    Time is of the essence. By 2025 the world’s population is projected to increase from 6.4 billion to 8.4 billion. At that time, 3.4 billion people could live in countries where water is scarce. Today we are talking about our planet as a global village. With coordinated efforts and a large influx of funding, the Gulf Coast region of the Unit¬ed’ States will, we hope, restore its water and sanitation systems within months. But unless we soon implement a global action plan for water with increased awareness, activism and resources, large numbers of people around the world will continue to suffer and die needlessly for generations to come for want of clean water.
    Jan Eliasson, former Swedish ambassador to the United States, is the president of the United Nations General Assembly. Retired Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal, a physician, served as assistant surgeon general of the United States. She is a clinical professor at the Georgetown and Tufts University schools of medicine.

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    THE PROBLEM
    The world is running out of clean water. Presently, worldwide demand for potable water exceeds supply by 10 billion gallons per day. In 2005, World Health Organization authorities estimated that approximately 16% of the world’s population — over one billion people — did not have access to safe drinking water. Worse yet, 3 million people died during that year due to a lack of clean water. Over the next 10 years the United Nations and World Bank independently estimate that, because of population demand and environmental contamination, 40% of people on earth will not have access to potable water. In addition, rising energy costs will continue to make processing and delivery of existing water supplies more expensive. Ismail Serageldin, former Vice President of the World Bank predicted: “While the world’s population has tripled, water demand has sextupled. If the wars of the past century were fought over oil, the wars of this century will be fought over water.”
    THE BUSINESS
    Ocean Energy Systems (OES) has been organized to develop and commercialize products that will help reduce the potable water deficit. OES’s initial product — The Amplified Wave Energy Converter System (AWECS) — is a self-contained, transportable, desalinization plant that uses ocean wave energy to safely, reliably and inexpensively desalinate and purify ocean water. The AWECS (patent applied for) uses a high percentage of commercial off-the-shelf components and is designed to operate in harsh ocean environments, including 100 year storm conditions. Each AWECS is expected to produce 250,000 gallons of potable water per day, at a projected shore-side price of $2.45/1000 gallons ($0.65/Cu. Meter) in wave heights of 1.5 meters with periods of 7.5 seconds. The AWECS, designed for a 20-year operating life with appropriate maintenance will be superseded with newer designs, materials and technologies every second decade. (See Appendix 1 for pictorial description of OES’s AWECS as well as a worldwide survey of average wave energy)
    OES plans to commercialize the AWECS for worldwide distribution and, because of the size of the potable water deficit, the market can be considered almost infinite and growing. The majority of OES’s customers are expected to be coastal and/or island government agencies, islands and initial disaster humanitarian relief organizations. As energy costs rise, transport from coastal regions becomes more likely. Additionally, the AWECS will be marketed to environmentally friendly businesses (e.g., eco-tourism resorts) and commercial operations where delivery of clean water is now prohibitively expensive or logistically impossible. At an annual production rate of 100 AWECS, OES would hardly dent the market need and yet produce consistent annual revenues of $150 million at a projected 15% profit after tax.
    OES is owned and operated by Robert Murtha, Brian Cunningham and Dr. Michael McCormick — its three founders. Bob, Brian and Mike collectively represent a unique, synergistic blend of over 100 years of business, entrepreneurial, academic and engineering design experience. They are committed to developing high quality, innovative and value based renewable energy products to help alleviate the potable water and energy crisis in America and around the world. (See Biographies – Appendix 2)

    REQUIRED INVESTMENT
    OES, operating as an OEM supplier, projects a cash flow breakeven in 2009, when the cost to produce each AWECS system including materials, labor and manufacturing overhead is projected to be $750,000. The wholesale sale price of each system is projected to be $1.5 million and the annual cost of operations including maintenance and spare parts is estimated to be $50,000 per system. OES estimates that to fully develop and commercialize the system will require an investment of $10 million. OES believes that the AWECS project should be funded in two phases:
    Phase 1- A 1 year, $3.0 million to design, fabricate and demonstrate Proof of Performance Model
    Phase 2- A 5 year, $7.0 million – Product Commercialization and refinement in Cost of manufacture of the AWECS.

    Accomplishment of the foregoing financial objectives means that an investment of $10 million in 2007 could yield 5 year accumulated profits of $38 million. Further assuming: 1) Public or Corporate investors willing to purchase the Company for at least 10X P/E based on 2011’s performance as described in the table above and the outside investor pool collectively owned 33% of OES (33% X $228 million = $75 million investor’ owned interest), at the time of Public Offering or Corporate sale; then outside investors would have earned a 50%, five year Compound Rate of Return (CRR).
    NOTE: Investors should be aware of the significant risks with AWECS and our projected results are based on our best estimates but many assumptions involve unpredictable market conditions. Members of Ocean Energy Systems Inc. management team will be available to discuss the risks and the prospects of overcoming them with qualified investor candidates.

    APPENDIX 1
    The Amplified Wave Energy Converter System (AWECS)

    World Wide Wave Energy Map

    APPENDIX 2
    Executive Biographies

    Robert Murtha – Chairman Mr. Murtha is a veteran entrepreneur and environmental engineering expert who received his Masters Degree from Johns Hopkins University by preparing his thesis on wave energy conversion under the direction of Professor Michael McCormick. He was formerly Vice President of ACS Environmental Solutions which was acquired by Lockheed Martin Company, and is currently founder and CEO of Murtech. Prior to his corporate experiences, Mr. Murtha served in the United States Marine Corps and was awarded the Navy Achievement Award for solving a complicated water shortage problem.
    .
    Brian Cunningham – Chief Executive Officer Brian Cunningham was the founding entrepreneur of the high tech firm Computer Entry Systems Corporation, which he guided from its inception through a 12-year private and an 8-year public journey, eventually employing over 1000 associates and returning over 30 times their original investment to Founding investors. Computer Entry Systems was recognized by both Forbes and Inc Magazines as one of the fastest growing small companies in the U.S. and was increasingly profitable for 16 consecutive years. Prior to his corporate experience, Mr. Cunningham was a Physicist at the Naval Ordinance Lab and a Project Manager at the National Aeronautics & Space Administration where he designed, fabricated and helped to launch scientific satellites in preparation for America’s moon landing.

    Dr. Michael McCormick – Chief Technical Officer Dr McCormick, Ph. D Mechanical Engineering , PhD Civil Engineering , Sc.D, Engineering Science. Dr. McCormick is a world-renowned ocean wave authority and author of more than 100 publications, including two books on ocean wave mechanics. Dr. McCormick has 37 years of engineering and teaching experience at both the U.S. Naval Academy and Johns Hopkins University where he is Professor Emeritus of Ocean Engineering. Recently, he has held part-time positions with ACS Defense and Lockheed-Martin IT as an environmental computational fluid dynamicist. He is a Fellow of three professional societies: ASCE, ASME and MTS. Dr. McCormick’s experience in wave energy conversion dates back to 1973, when he was the U.S. Coast Guard Research Professor at the Naval Academy studying oscillating water-column wave-energy conversion. He conceptually designed the bi-directional turbine contributed by the U.S. on the Kaimei project in Japan. His association with wave-powered desalination began in 1981 with his work on the McCabe Wave Pump in Ireland.
    Most recently, May 2007, Dr. McCormick was appointed to the position of Corbin A. McNeill, Professor of Naval Engineering at the United States Naval Academy.

    Why a Bull Market In Water Prices Is Inevitable
    Fortune Magazine
    This article extracted from a news letter by Stephen Leeb of The Corporate Investor
    You may ask, “Is there no solution to the water crisis?” In a supply/demand squeeze, there are really only possible three options, two of which are unworkable in the case of water.
    First, demand could fall. But I doubt it. We cannot substitute any cheaper substance for water, especially for human consumption and agriculture. We can also be sure that the world’s population will continue to grow. China is the only nation that has ever taken steps to curb the number of children born, through its “one child per family” policy, and even its population continues to increase.
    We can also safely assume that governments around the world will do everything in their power to avoid economic recession. Recession traditionally leads to widespread unemployment and dissatisfaction with governments. China in particular is striving to provide jobs for its people and avoid civil unrest. With the high levels of debt in the U.S. today, our government also wants to maintain economic growth ~ And the same is true for other countries, which means water use will inevitably rise.
    The second option is to increase water supply, perhaps by converting seawater into fresh water, a process known as desalination. Unfortunately, unless a country has access to extremely cheap energy, desalination costs too much to be practical. OES’s response to this paragraph is that ocean wave energy, as utilized by OES’s AWECS (patent pending), is one of the least expensive, most plentiful, non carbon dioxide producing renewable energy sources on Planet Earth.
    For example, reverse osmosis-the cheapest method of desalination-costs an average of 0.02 kWh of electricity per gallon of water. If Asian growth continues as we expect, and diets there improve, China and India alone will need at least 1 trillion additional gallons of water per day just to produce food, and possibly much more. Making that much fresh water by desalination would consume over 20 billion kWh a day-more than China’s total electricity consumption today. At $0.08 per kWh (the average price in India in 2005), that much electricity would cost more than $584 billion a year.
    “Water promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th: the precious commodity that determines the wealth of nations.”

  7. […] only be more evident globally in the future. It is predicted that future wars will be fought over water resources, and not oil. Will the Indus Waters Treaty hold strong? and how will we deal with the equity issues […]

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  9. […] spends a lot of time thinking about these issues…so when he writes, I pay attention. Click here for what I wrote on water a few months […]

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