# Water shortage

Discussion in 'World Events' started by Saint, Mar 8, 2017.

1. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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Yes, I say it works because global oil distribution emphatically does work. It is palpable nonsense to claim otherwise. All over the globe, people can get transport and heating fuel, petrochemical goods, lubricants etc, at affordable prices and of mostly acceptable quality, thanks to mostly appropriate regulation. It has led directly to a massive leap forward in the standards of living for billions of people over the last century, all thanks to Henry Ford, the Wright brothers and people like Marcus Samuel.

3. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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Oil is not a commons, water is. I provided you with a link, if you are unfamiliar with the concept.

Meanwhile: It does not distribute to the very poor, and it creates war, pestilence, famine, and death on very large scales. It also degrades - eliminates, actually - its base resources, one locale at at time. Following that pattern with water on a global scale would be catastrophic.
The fact that we yoked the industrial revolution and its many benefits to the international oil industry is something we may yet avoid regretting too much, if we work very hard to recover from the mistake.

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7. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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International distribution was in place for many millions of years before our species came on the scene. Water doesn't need management: it needs less interference.
There is no such thing as a surplus of water in a country, except in seasonal flooding, and soon, in rising oceans.
Transnational trading in a privately owned necessity of life simply means - always has meant - killing many people so a few can live in luxury.

8. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Well, utilities DO have a monopoly, enforced by law. (If you decide to dig up the street to put Joe's Water Service in, you end up in jail.) That's why they're regulated so tightly.

9. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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Don't look at what has been and what is. Look ahead!
An alarming amount of common water has already been privatized.
Law means nothing. The brand-spanking-new US federal government just declared that for every new regulation, two standing regulations have to struck down.
They've already started dismantling environmental protection. Can you not see what's next?

10. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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OK. Looking ahead, do you see municipal water supplies going away? I don't. People need water, and will vote for access to it.

11. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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Not "going away", but being privatized. As the tax base dries up, town councils are making bad decisions - often forced upon them, sometimes due to corruption, sometimes short-sightedness.
See the article I cited above http://www.globalresearch.ca/privat...y-rather-than-a-universal-human-right/5378483

That means, whatever infrastructure has been put in place for the public service will be neglected (maintenance shows no immediate dividends) and will stay unrepaired and uninimproved, nor will any new purification plants be constructed, in the poor neighbourhoods where people can't pay the increased rates, while they're upgraded in the rich districts, where people have both clout and cash.
This is a typical pattern with public utilities that are sold off to private enterprise: rates go up as service goes down.
Once the real shortages manifest, and delivery systems break down, the poor neighbourhoods will be without service altogether. This is doubly worrisome, given that the water utility is usually also in charge of sewage. That's where plagues start and spread.

People can vote whatever they like - if the money's gone, so is their power. If the political power's been hijacked or subverted or stolen, voting will get them.....
Well, just consider how many Americans voted for gun control over how many decades.
Anyway, water is a global concern. Your Irvine CA municipal vote does nothing to stop Nevada watering their golf courses before letting any of it come through.
And, of course, the problem is far more catastrophic in India and Mexico.

Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
12. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Most public utilities are run by private enterprise - just very carefully regulated. Down here, for example, the electric and gas companies are private companies under control of the PUC. Seems to work OK.
I doubt that. We've had over 200 years for that to happen, in situations far worse (i.e. less regulation, more problems with contaminated water) than we have today - and we haven't seen that.

Might it change in the future? Perhaps. But I think it's unlikely.
. . . . what they vote for.
A lot. As a result we have a lot of gun control laws. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 42% of Americans were satisfied with gun control laws we have now, and 11% wanted fewer. Only 37% wanted more. That tells me that, in general, the system is working. (It isn't perfect, of course, and can be improved.)
Right. And the vote in Clark County, Nevada does nothing to stop California growers from planting alfalfa or building desalinators. Local control is, in general, a good thing.

13. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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Nothing has ever been like now.

That's an opinion I am not alone in holding. But I hope I'm wrong and you're right.

14. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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I've been hearing that for 50 years.

My parents once related their life in the 1960's. They said most people back then thought the US would not survive all its problems for much longer - horrendous pollution, race riots, imminent immolation by the Russians, rampant crime. There had never been problems like that before!

But we survived. And today, although we still have problems with race, we are much better than we were in the 1960's. Although we still have problems with pollution, we are in general much cleaner than we were in the 1960's. And although we still have foreign threats, we are nowhere near as close to nuclear war as we were in the 1960's,

15. ### spidergoatValued Senior Member

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It probably won't, due to lifestyle constraints as a result of diminishing cheap energy sources.
No.

We can't. People are going to die. At least, the poor people. Some will migrate to other areas. Disease will increase. Areas with good rainfall will do well.

16. ### spidergoatValued Senior Member

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You grew up and lived all your life in the age of cheap energy.

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And lived through several "it's the end of cheap energy!" scares. Once during the 1970's, when oil was going away for good; the US would never recover. Riots and shootings resulted, and we almost started a war over it. The next around 2010, which was going to be peak oil; after that oil was going to go to $200,$500, $1000 a barrel, and only the rich would be able to drive. Now the energy to run my home and move my vehicles comes from the sun. That's pretty cheap to me, and I doubt anyone will start charging for it. 18. ### iceauraValued Senior Member Messages: 25,858 It doesn't work for water - unless by "local" is meant "watershed, entire". It shouldn't. Most Americans do not know the actual state of gun control laws now, and most who do would prefer more stringent regulations in an ideal world - they just don't trust their current government. That indicates "the system" is not working very well. Similar considerations apply to water regulations. As with roads and sewer systems, we are currently coasting on the infrastructure and regulatory oversight gains of the post WWII era that ended in the 1980s. 19. ### spidergoatValued Senior Member Messages: 52,769 The timing and hysteria was wrong, the basic notion was right. 20. ### JeevesValued Senior Member Messages: 1,696 How much has "cheap" energy cost the US since 1965? Just in$, never mind the cost in extinctions and human suffering....

It wasn't necessarily hysterical* to draw attention to an on-going and self-perpetuating problem. 50 years is not long in the life of a nation, and even less in the life of a planet. The Club of Rome was not wrong in its predictions. Nor was the scientist's warning to humanity http://www.ucsusa.org/about/1992-world-scientists.html#.WMLGWH9MTGs either wrong or hysterical* .
Granted, in the US (while other regions were ruthlessly despoiled) the EPA has done a stellar job - with very little thanks, btw, while pollution apologists are merciless in their criticism of any mistakes it's ever made. But who knows how much longer it will be able to do anything. No prognosticator, no pundit, no prophet and no Cassandra ever predicted that America would one day have an evil clown for president.

*hysteria is this year's word for what in 2010 was called 'alarmism', in 2005 was called 'cynicism', in 1990, passed for pessimism and in 1970, for realism. I know, because my take on the course of events has changed very little in that time, though my language has been toned down.

Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
21. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Agreed. In many cases it does work (local watersheds) - but in cases where that watershed extends across states, you can't just assume local control will work. Either it doesn't or you end up with a mess like the California water rights debacle.
Democracy is working just fine, since people are getting what they say they want. The educational system may indeed be failing.

22. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Why do you think that?

Up until about ten years ago, 2010 was going to be peak oil production. Beyond that, we could not drill for more oil no matter how hard we tried. This was "common knowledge." Well, we tried harder, and it turns out you can use tight oil as well - and now peak production of oil is pegged around 2070.

But before that we're going to just plain choose something different. Even today, the CEO of Shell Oil is predicting peak oil _demand_ in 2030 - and this is from a company that very much wants to keep selling oil.

23. ### spidergoatValued Senior Member

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Peak oil can only be determined by examining past records, so if it hasn't happened yet, that doesn't mean anything. "Common knowledge" is misconception, proliferated by sensationalist media stories. The fact remains oil supplies are finite. New technology will only deplete remaining reserves faster than before. It also delays the urgency to develop other sources of energy. Energy isn't technology. It's hubris to say that because in the past we have always landed on something else that this dynamic will always be true. Nothing else is easier to extract and transport than liquid fossil fuels. That means everything else is more expensive. The oil shortages of the 1970's weren't the result of diminishing supply but rather political factors. The oil industry cannot thrive on oil that's less than $100 a barrel, based on less Energy Return on Investment (EROI) from lower grades of fuels and increasing extraction costs, to say nothing of environmental and health costs. Industrial economies can't thrive on oil that's more than$100 a barrel. See the problem? The costs associated with upgrading the grid and supplying solar power to the US are astronomical, and if your economy isn't thriving, it becomes impossible. Borrowing is what we do to make up the shortfall, and that isn't sustainable. Eventually, we will undermine the dollar and that means collapse. We will be lucky if we can find a good mule to plow our field at that point.