Water Wars (2)

This, briefly, follows on from my placeholder about “hydro-diplomacy” or “water wars.”

Look at this graphic …

desalinationx950 copy.jpg

… it is from the March/April 2015 edition of the MIT Technology Review, from an article about Israel’s Sorek desalinization plant which was, two years ago, the largest in the world. “Worldwide,” the MIT article says, “some 700 million people don’t have access to enough clean water. In 10 years the number is expected to explode to 1.8 billion. In many places, squeezing fresh water from the ocean might be the only viable way to increase the supply.

Worlds-largest-desalination-plant-Ras-Alkhair-Saoudi-Arabia-300x218Another article says that “This largest clean water plant [in the world] in Ras Alkhair in Saudi Arabia, is based on reverse osmosis desalination …[and] … The installation has started since 2014 and is supplying 1 million cubic meters of drinking water every day … [but] … It uses 2400 MW of power for the desalination processes.”  This points up one of the major problems with desalinization: high desalination-plant-in-Sorek-Israel-300x169.x59522energy use. But, the MIT article (linked above) says that, thanks to world beating design and technology, Israel’s Sorek plant’s “energy consumption is among the lowest in the world for large-scale desalination plants.” Desalinization is already popular in e.g. Singapore, California and Australia but, look, again at that map, can it be made affordable for say Sudan, Chad and Algeria?

Desalinization coupled with massive water reuse projects, turning brackish and waste water into water that can be used for irrigation and even drinking might be the best “peacekeeping” that Western countries can do.

If we, Canadians, really want to help bring peace to a troubled world maybe we should start by ignoring the inept and corrupt United Nations and the problematic United States and teaming, instead, with, say, Australia, Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Singapore and offering a potent mix of clean enough, fresh water and good governance models to poor, failing states in Africa. We can provide very, very limited military and police training support to help with internal security and counter-insurgency ~ because foreigners will never, in my opinion, bring real peace to those countries, and focus, mainly, on helping people to succeed and prosper in their own homelands ~ reducing, concomitantly, the flow of refugees and migrants.

2 thoughts on “Water Wars (2)

  1. Just for a bit more perspective on water wars, Ted.

    King’s College London (UK) runs something called the Sahara Megalakes Project.


    It describes the environment of the Sahara 7000 to 7500 years ago. The largest lake was a Megasized version of today’s Lake Chad. It has been shrinking ever since.

    A dozen other lakes similar in size to, and larger than, the Great Lakes have shrunk to non-existence.

    “These shorelines suggest that at its peak the palaeolake Megachad had an area of at least four hundred thousand square kilometres, bigger than the Caspian Sea, the biggest lake on Earth today (Figure 2.7). Subsequent desiccation of the palaeolake is recorded by numerous regressive shorelines. Of these, there is a prominent shoreline at around 329m (Figure 2.7) where the geomorphology is preserved around the vast majority of the palaeolake that has been radiocarbon dated to 6,340±250 14C years BP (Thiemeyer1992) that calibrates with a two sigma range to 7,500-6,940 BP. ”


    Water scarcity is very real as are Water Wars. But we have been dealing with this for a very long while.

    The solutions have always been technology or relocation.

    The Queen of Sheba, or Saba in Yemen, reigned over an agricultural nation when she was dating Solomon. And Loulan in Xianjiang used to support a major trade hub about the same time that Christ was preaching.
    Also, in Europe, you can see the remnants of dried up river beds in valleys by following meandering lines trees and roads to villages that used to be home to ancient families of note when there was a reason for the village to be a town.

    I always understood that man’s great advantage was his ability to adapt to the environment because the environment is going to do what it wants regardless of man’s interventions.

    On the other hand, on your basic premise, as I understand it, Canada can benefit itself by being a good neighbour and providing novel technologies to assist others live in their own homes. And it could finance that assistance by unlocking more of that wealth that we 30,000,000 Canadians are hoarding underground and distributing it to where it might be useful.

    Austria grew rich on salt, silver and steel – rich enough that it attracted the attentions of the Romans.

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