It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Not just oil: US hit peak water in 1970 and nobody noticed

page: 1

log in


posted on May, 25 2010 @ 03:32 PM
Not Just Oil: USA Hit Peak Oil in 1970 and Nobody Noticed

The concept of peak oil, where the inaccessibility of remaining deposits ensures that extraction rates start an irreversible decline, has been the subject of regular debate for decades. Although that argument still hasn't been settled—estimates range from the peak already having passed us to its arrival being 30 years in the future—having a better sense of when we're likely to hit it could prove invaluable when it comes to planning our energy economy. The general concept of peaking has also been valuable, as it applies to just about any finite resource. A new analysis suggests that it may be valuable to consider applying it to a renewable resource as well: the planet's water supply.

I highly suggest reading the article at it's source, incredibly insightful and a good look at a topic that our future hinges on. We can sustain ourselves without hydrocarbon fuel, but without water an empire will wither on the vine.

The article makes a good point about extrapolating the "Peak" in the water situation to apply to other "Peaks" in the future, such as Peak Oil, but I must take issue with it in some respects. Personally I feel the analysis has made some improper assumptions regarding what the effects of "Peak Water" will be on the US, specifically that in of that we have yet to truly drain the reservoirs and thus have not seen the detriment of a diminishing supply.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 03:34 PM
This is why as a Canadian, I am fearful for my children's future.

We own water, and lots of it.

The US has been trying for years to get us to sign a NAFTA agreement to supply water, but we know better after the oil fiasco.


posted on May, 25 2010 @ 03:52 PM
in a rather prescient manner a little known scientist and visionary by the name of Viktor Schauberger wrote on many occasions that water was our single greatest and most endangered resource.....all the way back in the early 1900s when the concept of water scarcity would have been laughed at from all quarters.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 03:58 PM
Perhaps I'm a bit ignorant here, but isn't water incredibly abundant on the earth? I thought this planet was a gem in the sky for all it's waters. I mean, what are the obstacles to providing clean water to people? The water is there, and very little has escaped the upper atmosphere since Earth's beginning. It seems all that's really lacking is the willpower to innovate and harness the water in the oceans efficiently.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 04:11 PM
reply to post by unityemissions

Desalination is stupidly, stupidly expensive and resource-intensive. Additionally, with crap like the Garbage Gyres & incidents like the BP Disaster, the oceans are not as boundless a resource as they seem.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 04:14 PM
reply to post by D.E.M.

The oil displaces water, but doesn't magically make it all disappear. What you say about desalination is only based on our current tech. Like I said, all that's needed is the will to innovate. As these issues become more dire, we will find a way.

[edit on 25-5-2010 by unityemissions]

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 04:25 PM
This makes no sense water is renewable it is all recycled. So where do they think it is disappearing too supposedly? How can we run out of water if it never leaves the planet? It's hydrogen and oxygen and the two are naturally attracted to each other even if you break them apart with electrolysis and burn the hydrogen a by product is water because it recombines with the oxygen...

What am I missing?

[edit on 25-5-2010 by hawkiye]

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 04:29 PM

Originally posted by unityemissions
Perhaps I'm a bit ignorant here, but isn't water incredibly abundant on the earth? I thought this planet was a gem in the sky for all it's waters. I mean, what are the obstacles to providing clean water to people? The water is there, and very little has escaped the upper atmosphere since Earth's beginning. It seems all that's really lacking is the willpower to innovate and harness the water in the oceans efficiently.

We are talking about drinkable water, not sea water. Sea water is expensive to convert to drinkable and the infrastructure require as far as I know is immense.


posted on May, 25 2010 @ 04:34 PM
Maybe for farming............. plenty here right on the edge of the ocean. We have tons of limestone and sandstone here and the sea water filters inland and flows back out as fresh. Good ol NEW England

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 04:36 PM
the only water the planet is ever missing is the water you walk around with till you pee it out

its hard to look at an ocean or a great lake and think were going to run out of water ever
easy water yes but thats all

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 04:47 PM
reply to post by tothetenthpower

According to Dean Kamen the conversion itself is quite cheap (runs on about as much electricity as a hair dryer), it's the production cost of the converters themselves that's prohibitive.

Segway inventor takes aim at thirst with Slingshot

Slingshots have been around for a few years; so I'd assume production costs have been dropping; however, they've probably still got a ways to go before considering the units 'widely' affordable.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 05:34 PM
reply to post by hawkiye

The aquifers that are being depleted took several million years to fill to their pre-exploitation levels. Water is "Renewable" only in the sense that over the course of millennium it will slowly filter itself into a drinkable state again. The human race will be dust long before we see these sources renewed, and they won't renew at all if the remaining surface water is too heavily contaminated.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 05:58 PM
Wow... some of these replies indicate woeful ignorance on this subject. Does anyone think it's just by coincidence that Bush (allegedly) made a huge land grab in Chaco, Paraguay right on top of an aquifer? T. Boone Pickens (oil barron) started up a green initiative here in texas to put in wind powered generators spanning across the state. What wasn't reported was the water pipeline planned to run across the state as well in the land he got through eminent domain. D.E.M. was correct- Not just oil.... water is poised to become a highly valuable resource, and thats where some of the top oilmen in the country are putting their money.

Now for the "smart" comments....
Water is renewable, much like everything else on the planet. Many of our rivers are supplied from glaciers melting. Stats from wikipedia are that "97% of water on the Earth is salt water, leaving only 3% as fresh water of which slightly over two thirds is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps.[1] The remaining unfrozen freshwater is mainly found as groundwater, with only a small fraction present above ground or in the air.[2]" That means that oceans have to evaporate, condense and then come down as rain. To build reserves, it needs to freeze (c'mon Ice Age!) or get caught up in lakes (start digging). If any of you would have been around even 75 years ago, there are many, many creeks that used to run year round. Now they are bone dry even in the wet season. Why? Someone dammed them up to supply a city further upstream with water. They were diverted to water crops. A multitude of reasons, but the same result: No more free flowing water in many parts.

What happens if a city goes dry and decides to do that to a river? Fields downstream shrivel up and die. Many farms are now irrigation-only. A small percentage of fields even have terraces any more for dry land farming (rain only). For those of us with wells, we know you can only irrigate so much in some places before your well goes dry for days or months. No rain, no food. Or at least, really expensive food.

Water can take thousands of years to leech into the ground and recharge water tables. Reforming glaciers would take just as long. So when we use water faster than it can replenish, we increase the risk of running out of water for quite some time. Desalinization and electrolysis are super energy intensive and would need us to build hundreds of new power plants. Let's not even think about what happens if we experience an event which pollutes the above ground water in this country...

star for the post.
for snarky remarks

new topics

top topics


log in