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http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article13046.html

The major challenges regarding freshwater are:

* Tremendously uneven distribution of water on earth.

* The economic and physical constraints of tapping water trapped in glaciers.

* Human contamination of existing water supplies.

* The high cost of moving water from one place to another.

Regional scarcity is not easily solved. Once the extraction of water exceeds the natural rate of replenishment, there are only a few options.

* Reduce demand to sustainable levels.

* Move the demand to an area where water is available.

* Shift to increasingly expensive sources, such as desalinization.

None of these options is available for many areas in the Southwest U.S. The cities of Las Vegas, and Phoenix were built in the middle of the desert. The Hoover Dam, built on the Colorado River near Las Vegas during the Great Depression, created Lake Mead, the country's largest artificial body of water. The lake provides water to Arizona, California, Nevada and northern Mexico - but after several recent years of drought, on top of ever-growing demand, it's dangerously depleted. Housing developments on the outskirts of these towns have been stopped dead in their tracks by lack of water supply. The growth of these major U.S. metropolitan areas is in danger of going into reverse if their long-term water supplies are not secure.

Mike Shedlock noted the difficulties facing the Southwest in a white paper that he wrote on the subject of peak water:

“There is more water allocated to each user from the Colorado River than there is water to allocate. As long as some people are willing to sell their water, this isn’t an immediate problem. Chevron’s water rights for its DeBeque, Colo., shale oil project are leased, not sold, to the city of Las Vegas for drinking water. How will Las Vegas replace that in the future when Chevron won’t extend the lease? Many areas are using ground water that will be used up entirely in just a few decades.â€

Potential Impact on Commodities

The United States, for better or worse, is a sprawling suburban dominated country with large supplies of freshwater in some regions and limited amounts in other regions. Suburban sprawl has put intense pressure on local water supplies. The millions of acres of perfectly manicured green lawns and millions of backyard “cement ponds†require vast quantities of water to retain that glorious green hue. The Ipswich River near Boston now "runs dry about every other year or so," according to Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project. "Why? Heavy pumping of groundwater for irrigation of big green lawns." In drought years like 1999 or 2003, Maryland, Virginia and the District have begun to fight over the Potomac -- on hot summer days combining to suck up 85 percent of the river's flow. With 67 million more people expected to inhabit the United States by 2030, these water shortages will only become more severe.

Kansas is considered part of the fertile mid-section of our country that has allowed the average American to become morbidly obese. The story of Scott City, Kansas should be a warning to all farming communities in the Midwest. Mike Shedlock describes what happened to Scott City:

“Farmers around Scott City pumped with abandon from the underground reservoir called the Ogallala Aquifer in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, raising record wheat, corn, and alfalfa crops, and never once worrying that they might hit ‘E’ on the tank fueling the economy. But today, in a withering downtown that no longer has a place for residents to buy shoes or dress clothing, some have likened the situation to a car running out of gas.

“‘If you run out of water for your crops, that’s one thing,’ farmer Kelly Crist says, recalling the day about a decade ago when his well went dry. ‘But when you go to your house and turn the shower on and there is no water, it’s a serious situation. Today, the 46-year-old farmer relies on an 800-foot-deep well that pokes into a deeper but smaller aquifer to fill his toilets, sinks, and bathtub.

“Water levels in the Ogallala, which stretches from Texas to South Dakota, vary in depth, and some communities have decades — or even more than a century — before the water runs out.Scott City sits atop a shallow portion of the aquifer. Water experts say that makes it a window into the Plains’ future.

“‘The area around Scott City is beginning to experience what the rest of the region is going to experience if we continue to pump the way we do,’ says Rex Buchanan of the Kansas Geological Survey. ‘If they keep going at the rate they are, it’s not a sustainable lifestyle. Something has to give.’

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Food production around the world has begun to flatten or decline. The last 10 years have seen steady erosion in the amount of grain grown per capita. And since wheat and rice and corn are all world markets, with developing countries growing at a breakneck pace, the need for imports elsewhere could drive up the cost of food everywhere. The Chinese are relentlessly converting farmland to industrial uses (even as they continue to demand more meat and grains in their diet). The price spike in 2007 and 2008 was not a onetime event. It was a foreshadowing of a much more costly future for consumers. The U.N. said global food reserves in 2008 were at their lowest level in 30 years, which was good for only 53 days, compared with 169 days in 2007. Peak oil and peak water are misleading terms. They should be changed to peak cheap oil and peak cheap water. We’ll be able to produce oil and water for decades, but it will cost significantly more to do so. This will result in much higher commodity prices as farming requires prodigious amounts of oil and water to produce the food for the 6.7 billion people that inhabit the planet (8.3 billion projected in 2030).

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Edited by lowrentyieldmakessense(honest!)

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Guest DissipatedYouthIsValuable

Once we get all those bankers and estate agents back in the fields where they belong, there'll be plenty of food.

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Fortunately the expert climate scientists who have predicted the last 10 UK summers to perfection tell us that things will continue to get warmer, and a warmer world is a wetter world.

It's satisfying to know they have such a good record as otherwise we might put in place the wrong policies.

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Fortunately the expert climate scientists who have predicted the last 10 UK summers to perfection tell us that things will continue to get warmer, and a warmer world is a wetter world.

It's satisfying to know they have such a good record as otherwise we might put in place the wrong policies.

water table doing ok is it

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water table doing ok is it

It's been another wet UK summer so it is doing fairly well as you'd expect.

Fortunately I avoided getting the sort of plants for my garden that cope well with the Mediterranean-style drought summers that we were told to expect more of by the excellent climate boffins with their computer tea-leaves.

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about 3 years ago a friend (senior RAF officer in whitehall) told me they were war-gaming for conflicts over drinking water - china was the target due to massive population expansion. damming rivers and cutting other countries supply off etc.. think he said expected within 20 years.

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about 3 years ago a friend (senior RAF officer in whitehall) told me they were war-gaming for conflicts over drinking water - china was the target due to massive population expansion. damming rivers and cutting other countries supply off etc.. think he said expected within 20 years.

It's already going on in the middle east. IIRC Isreal damned a river and used all the water to irrigate dearet to grow crops. Jordanian farmers downstream were not impressed.

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Guest DissipatedYouthIsValuable
It's already going on in the middle east. IIRC Isreal damned a river and used all the water to irrigate dearet to grow crops. Jordanian farmers downstream were not impressed.

The Ilisu dam isn't too popular with some either.

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