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A good friend of mine who manages her families trust funds told me that she has put some family money in to CFWCX, which is a Calvert Fund.

Of course water is a necessary commodity, more necessary than gold...

I thought that perhaps this topic if discussed by the group might be enlightening.

This is new topic for me, so "I have nothing to add" about global water shortages.

Perhaps there are others who do have something to add?

I hope so,

Sincerely,

jan

:^)
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Wikipedia on water:

Water scarcity
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Deforestation of the Madagascar Highland Plateau has led to extensive siltation and unstable flows of western rivers.
NGO estimate for 2025, 25 African countries are expected to suffer from water shortage or water stress.

Water scarcity involves water stress, water deficits, water shortage and water crisis. The concept of water stress is relatively new. Water stress is the difficulty of obtaining sources of fresh water for use, because of depleting resources. A water crisis is a situation where the available potable, unpolluted water within a region is less than that region's demand.[1]
Contents

1 Measurement
2 Economic scarcity
3 Water stress
4 Water crisis
4.1 Manifestations
4.2 Overview of regions suffering crisis impacts
5 Effects on climate
6 Outlook
7 Global experiences in managing water crisis
8 See also
9 References
10 Further reading
11 External links

Measurement

Some have presented maps showing the physical existence of water in nature to show nations with lower or higher volumes of water available for use. Others have related water availability to population. A popular approach has been to rank countries according to the amount of annual water resources available per person. For example, according to the Falkenmark Water Stress Indicator,[2] a country or region is said to experience "water stress" when annual water supplies drop below 1,700 cubic metres per person per year. At levels between 1,700 and 1,000 cubic metres per person per year, periodic or limited water shortages can be expected. When water supplies drop below 1,000 cubic metres per person per year, the country faces "water scarcity".[3] The United Nations' FAO states that by 2025, 1.9 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions.[4] The World Bank adds that climate change could profoundly alter future patterns of both water availability and use,thereby increasing levels of water stress and insecurity, both at the global scale and in sectors that depend on water.[5]

Another measurement, calculated as part of a wider assessment of water management in 2007,[6] aimed to relate water availability to how the resource was actually used. It therefore divided water scarcity into ‘physical’ and ‘economic’. Physical water scarcity is where there is not enough water to meet all demands, including that needed for ecosystems to function effectively. Arid regions frequently suffer from physical water scarcity. It also occurs where water seems abundant but where resources are over-committed, such as when there is overdevelopment of hydraulic infrastructure for irrigation. Symptoms of physical water scarcity include environmental degradation and declining groundwater. Water stress harms living things because every organism needs water to live.
Economic scarcity

Economic water scarcity, meanwhile, is caused by a lack of investment in water or insufficient human capacity to satisfy the demand for water. Symptoms of economic water scarcity include a lack of infrastructure, with people often having to fetch water from rivers for domestic and agricultural uses. Large parts of Africa suffer from economic water scarcity; developing water infrastructure in those areas could therefore help to reduce poverty. Critical conditions often arise for economically poor and politically weak communities living in already dry environment.
Water stress

Fifty years ago, when there were fewer than half the current number of people on the planet, the common perception was that water was an infinite resource. People were not as wealthy then as they are today, consumed fewer calories and ate less meat, so less water was needed to produce their food. They required a third of the volume of water we presently take from rivers. Today, the competition for water resources is much more intense. This is because there are now over seven billion people on the planet, their consumption of water-thirsty meat and vegetables is rising, and there is increasing competition for water from industry, urbanisation and biofuel crops.

The total amount of available freshwater supply is also decreasing because of climate change, which has caused receding glaciers, reduced stream and river flow, and shrinking lakes. Many aquifers have been over-pumped and are not recharging quickly. Although the total fresh water supply is not used up, much has become polluted, salted, unsuitable or otherwise unavailable for drinking, industry and agriculture. To avoid a global water crisis, farmers will have to strive to increase productivity to meet growing demands for food, while industry and cities find ways to use water more efficiently.[7]

The New York Times article, "Southeast Drought Study Ties Water Shortage to Population, Not Global Warming", summarizes the findings of Columbia University researcher on the subject of the droughts in the American Southeast between 2005 and 2007. The findings were published in the Journal of Climate. They say the water shortages resulted from population size more than rainfall. Census figures show that Georgia’s population rose from 6.48 to 9.54 million between 1990 and 2007.[8] After studying data from weather instruments, computer models and measurements of tree rings which reflect rainfall, they found that the droughts were not unprecedented and result from normal climate patterns and random weather events. "Similar droughts unfolded over the last thousand years", the researchers wrote, "Regardless of climate change, they added, similar weather patterns can be expected regularly in the future, with similar results."[8] As the temperature increases, rainfall in the Southeast will increase but because of evaporation the area may get even drier. The researchers concluded with a statement saying that any rainfall comes from complicated internal processes in the atmosphere and are very hard to predict because of the large amount of variables.
Water crisis

When then there is not enough potable water for given necessity, the threat of a water crisis is realized.[1] The United Nations and other world organizations consider a variety of regions to have water crises such that it is a global concern.[9][10] Other organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, argue that there is no water crises in such places, but that steps must still be taken to avoid one.[11]
Manifestations

There are several principal manifestations of the water crisis.

Inadequate access to safe drinking water for about 884 million people[12]
Inadequate access to water for sanitation and waste disposal for 2.5 billion people[13]
Groundwater overdrafting (excessive use) leading to diminished agricultural yields[14]
Overuse and pollution of water resources harming biodiversity
Regional conflicts over scarce water resources sometimes resulting in warfare

Waterborne diseases and the absence of sanitary domestic water are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. For children under age five, waterborne diseases are the leading cause of death. At any given time, half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from waterborne diseases.[15] According to the World Bank, 88 percent of all waterborne diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.[16]

Water is the underlying tenuous balance of safe water supply, but controllable factors such as the management and distribution of the water supply itself contribute to further scarcity.

A 2006 United Nations report focuses on issues of governance as the core of the water crisis, saying "There is enough water for everyone" and "Water insufficiency is often due to mismanagement, corruption, lack of appropriate institutions, bureaucratic inertia and a shortage of investment in both human capacity and physical infrastructure".[17] Official data also shows a clear correlation between access to safe water and GDP per capita.[18]

It has also been claimed, primarily by economists, that the water situation has occurred because of a lack of property rights, government regulations and subsidies in the water sector, causing prices to be too low and consumption too high.[19][20][21]

Vegetation and wildlife are fundamentally dependent upon adequate freshwater resources. Marshes, bogs and riparian zones are more obviously dependent upon sustainable water supply, but forests and other upland ecosystems are equally at risk of significant productivity changes as water availability is diminished. In the case of wetlands, considerable area has been simply taken from wildlife use to feed and house the expanding human population. But other areas have suffered reduced productivity from gradual diminishing of freshwater inflow, as upstream sources are diverted for human use. In seven states of the U.S. over 80 percent of all historic wetlands were filled by the 1980s, when Congress acted to create a “no net loss” of wetlands.

In Europe extensive loss of wetlands has also occurred with resulting loss of biodiversity. For example many bogs in Scotland have been developed or diminished through human population expansion. One example is the Portlethen Moss in Aberdeenshire.

On Madagascar’s highland plateau, a massive transformation occurred that eliminated virtually all the heavily forested vegetation in the period 1970 to 2000. The slash and burn agriculture eliminated about ten percent of the total country’s native biomass and converted it to a barren wasteland. These effects were from overpopulation and the necessity to feed poor indigenous peoples, but the adverse effects included widespread gully erosion that in turn produced heavily silted rivers that “run red” decades after the deforestation. This eliminated a large amount of usable fresh water and also destroyed much of the riverine ecosystems of several large west-flowing rivers. Several fish species have been driven to the edge of extinction and some, such as the disturbed Tokios coral reef formations in the Indian Ocean, are effectively lost.

In October 2008, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and former chief executive of Nestlé, warned that the production of biofuels will further deplete the world's water supply.
Overview of regions suffering crisis impacts
An abandoned ship in the former Aral Sea, near Aral, Kazakhstan.

There are many other countries of the world that are severely impacted with regard to human health and inadequate drinking water. The following is a partial list of some of the countries with significant populations (numerical population of affected population listed) whose only consumption is of contaminated water:[22]

Sudan 12.3 million
Venezuela 5.0 million
Ethiopia 2.7 million
Tunisia 2.1 million
Cuba 1.3 million

Several world maps showing various aspects of the problem can be found in this graph article.[23]

According to the California Department of Resources, if more supplies aren’t found by 2020, the region will face a shortfall nearly as great as the amount consumed today. Los Angeles is a coastal desert able to support at most 1 million people on its own water; the Los Angeles basin now is the core of a megacity that spans 220 miles (350 km) from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. The region’s population is expected to reach 41 million by 2020, up from 28 million in 2009. The population of California continues to grow by more than two million a year and is expected to reach 75 million in 2030, up from 49 million in 2009. But water shortage is likely to surface well before then.[24]

Water deficits, which are already spurring heavy grain imports in numerous smaller countries, may soon do the same in larger countries, such as China and India.[25] The water tables are falling in scores of countries (including Northern China, the US, and India) due to widespread overpumping using powerful diesel and electric pumps. Other countries affected include Pakistan, Iran, and Mexico. This will eventually lead to water scarcity and cutbacks in grain harvest. Even with the overpumping of its aquifers, China is developing a grain deficit. When this happens, it will almost certainly drive grain prices upward. Most of the 3 billion people projected to be added worldwide by mid-century will be born in countries already experiencing water shortages. Unless population growth can be slowed quickly it is feared that there may not be a practical non-violent or humane solution to the emerging world water shortage.[26][27][28]

After China and India, there is a second tier of smaller countries with large water deficits — Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, and Pakistan. Four of these already import a large share of their grain. But with a population expanding by 4 million a year, it will also likely soon turn to the world market for grain.[29]

According to a UN climate report, the Himalayan glaciers that are the sources of Asia's biggest rivers - Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Yellow - could disappear by 2035 as temperatures rise.[30] It was later revealed that the source used by the UN climate report actually stated 2350, not 2035.[31] Approximately 2.4 billion people live in the drainage basin of the Himalayan rivers.[32] India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar could experience floods followed by droughts in coming decades. In India alone, the Ganges provides water for drinking and farming for more than 500 million people.[33][34][35] The west coast of North America, which gets much of its water from glaciers in mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada, also would be affected.[36][37]

By far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid lands commonly known as the outback. In June 2008 it became known that an expert panel had warned of long term, possibly irreversible, severe ecological damage for the whole Murray-Darling basin if it does not receive sufficient water by October.[38] Water restrictions are currently in place in many regions and cities of Australia in response to chronic shortages resulting from drought. The Australian of the year 2007, environmentalist Tim Flannery, predicted that unless it made drastic changes, Perth in Western Australia could become the world’s first ghost metropolis, an abandoned city with no more water to sustain its population.[39] However, Western Australia's dams reached 50% capacity for the first time since 2000 as of September 2009.[40] As a result, heavy rains have brought forth positive results for the region.[40] Nonetheless, the following year, 2010, Perth suffered its second-driest winter on record[41] and the water corporation tightened water restrictions for spring.[42]
Effects on climate

Aquifer drawdown or overdrafting and the pumping of fossil water increases the total amount of water within the hydrosphere subject to transpiration and evaporation processes, thereby causing accretion in water vapour and cloud cover, the primary absorbers of infrared radiation in the earth's atmosphere. Adding water to the system has a forcing effect on the whole earth system, an accurate estimate of which hydrogeological fact is yet to be quantified.
Outlook
Wind and solar power such as this installation in a village in northwest Madagascar can make a difference in safe water supply.

Construction of wastewater treatment plants and reduction of groundwater overdrafting appear to be obvious solutions to the worldwide problem; however, a deeper look reveals more fundamental issues in play. Wastewater treatment is highly capital intensive, restricting access to this technology in some regions; furthermore the rapid increase in population of many countries makes this a race that is difficult to win. As if those factors are not daunting enough, one must consider the enormous costs and skill sets involved to maintain wastewater treatment plants even if they are successfully developed.

Reduction in groundwater overdrafting is usually politically very unpopular and has major economic impacts to farmers; moreover, this strategy will necessarily reduce crop output, which is something the world can ill-afford, given the population level at present.

At more realistic levels, developing countries can strive to achieve primary wastewater treatment or secure septic systems, and carefully analyse wastewater outfall design to minimise impacts to drinking water and to ecosystems. Developed countries can not only share technology better, including cost-effective wastewater and water treatment systems but also in hydrological transport modeling. At the individual level, people in developed countries can look inward and reduce overconsumption, which further strains worldwide water consumption. Both developed and developing countries can increase protection of ecosystems, especially wetlands and riparian zones. These measures will not only conserve biota, but also render more effective the natural water cycle flushing and transport that make water systems more healthy for humans.

A range of local, low-tech solutions are being pursued by a number of companies. These efforts center around the use of solar power to distill water at temperatures slightly beneath that at which water boils. By developing the capability to purify any available water source, local business models could be built around the new technologies, accelerating their uptake.[43]
Global experiences in managing water crisis
This section is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. (September 2009)

It is alleged that the likelihood of conflict rises if the rate of change within the basin exceeds the capacity of institution to absorb that change.[36] Although water crisis is closely related to regional tensions, history showed that acute conflicts over water are far less than the record of cooperation.

The key lies in strong institutions and cooperation. The Indus River Commission and the Indus Water Treaty survived two wars between India and Pakistan despite their hostility, proving to be a successful mechanism in resolving conflicts by providing a framework for consultation inspection and exchange of data. The Mekong Committee has also functioned since 1957 and survived the Vietnam War. In contrast, regional instability results when there is an absence of institutions to co-operate in regional collaboration, like Egypt’s plan for a high dam on the Nile. However, there is currently no global institution in place for the management and management of trans-boundary water sources, and international co-operation has happened through ad hoc collaborations between agencies, like the Mekong Committee which was formed due to an alliance between UNICEF and the US Bureau of Reclamation. Formation of strong international institutions seems to be a way forward - they fuel early intervention and management, preventing the costly dispute resolution process.

One common feature of almost all resolved disputes is that the negotiations had a “need-based” instead of a “right–based” paradigm. Irrigable lands, population, technicalities of projects define "needs". The success of a need-based paradigm is reflected in the only water agreement ever negotiated in the Jordan River Basin, which focuses in needs not on rights of riparians. In the Indian subcontinent, irrigation requirements of Bangladesh determine water allocations of The Ganges River. A need based, regional approach focuses on satisfying individuals with their need of water, ensuring that minimum quantitative needs are being met. It removes the conflict that arises when countries view the treaty from a national interest point of view, move away from the zero-sum approach to a positive sum, integrative approach that equitably allocated the water and its benefits.
See also
Portal icon Water portal
Portal icon Environment portal

Peak water
Irrigation in viticulture
Water contamination
Water resources
Water scarcity in Africa
Drought rhizogenesis
1998 Klang Valley water crisis
Arable land
California Water Wars
Chinese water crisis
Consumptive water use
Deficit irrigation
Green Revolution
Life Saver bottle
Living Water International
Ogallala Aquifer
Water resource policy
Spragg Bag
Sustainable development in an urban water supply network
Seawater Greenhouse
Water conflict
Water footprint
Water resource policy
WaterPartners International

References

^ a b Freshwater: lifeblood of the planet
^ Falkenmark and Lindh 1976, quoted in UNEP/WMO. "Climate Change 2001: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability". UNEP. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
^ Samuel T. L. Larsen. "Lack of Freshwater Throughout the World". Evergreen State College. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
^ FAO Hot issues: Water scarcity
^ The World Bank, 2009 "Water and Climate Change: Understanding the Risks and Making Climate-Smart Investment Decisions". pp. 21–24. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
^ Molden, D. (Ed). Water for food, Water for life: A Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture. Earthscan/IWMI, 2007.
^ Chartres, C. and Varma, S. Out of water. From Abundance to Scarcity and How to Solve the World’s Water Problems FT Press (USA), 2010
^ a b http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/science/earth/02drought.ht... NYTimes 2009 - Columbia University
^ "United Nations statement on water crisis". Un.org. 2006-02-20. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ UN World Summit on Sustainable Development addresses the water crisis[dead link]
^ "No global water crisis - but may developing countries will face water scarcity", FAO.org 12 March 2003
^ "Progress in Drinking-water and Sanitation: special focus on sanitation". MDG Assessment Report 2008 (WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation). July 17, 2008. p. 25.
^ "Updated Numbers: WHO-UNICEF JMP Report 2008". Unicef.org. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ "Water is Life - Groundwater drawdown". Academic.evergreen.edu. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ WaterPartners International: Learn about the Water Crisis
^ "All About: Water and Health". CNN. December 18, 2007.
^ Water, a shared responsibility. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2, 2006
^ "Public Services"]". Gapminder video.
^ Fredrik Segerfeldt (2005), "Private Water Saves Lives", Financial Times 25 August
^ David Zetland, "Running Out of Water"
^ David Zetland, "Water Crisis"
^ http://www.unicef.org/specialsession/about/sgreport-pdf/03_S...
^ "Looming water crisis simply a management problem" by Jonathan Chenoweth, New Scientist 28 Aug., 2008, pp. 28-32.
^ "U.S. Water Supply". Fairus.org. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ Jul 21, 2006 (2006-07-21). "India grows a grain crisis". Atimes.com. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ "Water Scarcity Crossing National Borders". Earth-policy.org. 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ Water Shortages May Cause Food Shortages
^ Yemen's Capital Facing Water Shortage Due to Rapid Increase in Population[dead link]
^ "The Food Bubble Economy". I-sis.org.uk. 2002-04-12. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ "Vanishing Himalayan Glaciers Threaten a Billion". Planetark.com. 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ Bagla, Pallava (December 5, 2009). "Himalayan glaciers melting deadline 'a mistake'". BBC. Retrieved 2009-12-12.
^ Big melt threatens millions, says UN[dead link]
^ "Ganges, Indus may not survive: climatologists". Rediff.com. 2004-12-31. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ english@peopledaily.com.cn (2007-07-24). "Glaciers melting at alarming speed". English.peopledaily.com.cn. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ Singh, Navin (2004-11-10). "Himalaya glaciers melt unnoticed". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ a b "Glaciers Are Melting Faster Than Expected, UN Reports". Sciencedaily.com. 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
^ Water shortage worst in decades, official says, Los Angeles Times
^ Bryant, Nick (June 18, 2008). "Australian rivers 'face disaster'". BBC News. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
^ Ayre, Maggie (May 3, 2007). "Metropolis strives to meet its thirst". BBC News. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
^ a b "Dams at record levels". ABC News. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
^ "More winter blues as rainfall dries up". ABC News. 2010-08-31. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
^ "Saving water in spring". Water corporation (Western Australia). 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
^ Tapping A Market CNBC European Business, October 2008

Further reading

An International Food Policy Research Institute book about the intersection of water policy, globalization and food security: Ringler, C., Biswas, A., and Cline, S., eds. 2010. Global Change: Impacts on Water and Food Security. Heidelberg: Springer.
Steven Solomon (c2010). Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization. Harper. p. 608. ISBN 978-0-06-054830-8.
Alexander Bell (c2009). Peak Water : Civilisation and the world's water crisis. Edinburgh: Luath. p. 208. ISBN 1-906817-19-7.
Peter H. Gleick, ed. (c2009). The World's Water 2008-2009: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources. Washington D.C. : Island Press. p. 402. ISBN 10: 1-59726-505-5 Check |isbn= value (help).
Maude Barlow (c2007). Blue covenant : the global water crisis and the coming battle for the right to water. New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-59558-186-0.
Richard Heinberg (c2007). Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines. Gabriola, BC : New Society Publishers. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-86571-598-1.
Engelbert, Ernest A., and Ann Foley Scheuring, ed. (c1984). Water Scarcity: Impacts on Western Agriculture. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Jameel M. Zayed. "No Peace Without Water – The Role of Hydropolitics in the Israel-Palestine Conflict". London.

The World Bank, (2010) Water and Climate Change: Understanding the Risks and Making Climate-Smart Investment Decisions.

External links
Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Drinking water

"Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis". United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2006.
Water Availability and Use in the Arab World an infographic by Carboun
Food exports can drain arid regions: Dry regions ‘export’ water as agricultural products 24.March.2012 Science News
The World Bank's work and publications on water resources
The Global Water Crisis - myHydros.org | Everything About Water
BBC News World Water Crisis Maps
International Action: Fighting the Water Crisis in Haiti
World Water Council: Water Crisis[dead link]
Food and Water Security under Global Change and Water Policy at the [http://www.ifpri.org/ International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
China water crisis - Greenpeace China
Water Wars: Multimedia coverage of East Africa's water crisis from CLPMag.org
Water Crisis Information Guide - From Middletown Thrall Library. Subjects include: Drinking Water, Government Information, International Challenges and Efforts, Global Water Issues, Oceanography, Sea Levels, Desalination, Water Scarcity, Pollution and Contaminants, Conservation and Recycling, News and Special Reports, and library catalog subject headings for further research.
Water and Conflict: Incorporating Peacebuilding into Water Development
Raipur Water Crisis Website For World
http://water.org
Water Wars: A Global Crisis - interview with Dr. Richard Schuhmann
Water crisis explained in two mins.

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No. of Recommendations: 1
Perhaps this new development from Lockheed Martin will help:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/how-to/blog/lockheeds-better...
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No. of Recommendations: 26
This is new topic for me, so "I have nothing to add" about global water shortages.

Perhaps there are others who do have something to add?


A few facts and a few of my opinions:

There is no global water shortage - there is exactly the same amount of water now as there has been for centuries, maybe a little more recently as some of the ice caps thaw.

There are local or regional water shortages, particularly in places where there are a lot more people (Israel, Arizona, Australia, etc.) or where some industry is using a lot more water (California, for instance) or in particular geographies like islands, or places where deserts have advanced (northern Africa).

Almost all the world's water is accessible to countries with large populations, but it has the major problem of having salt in it. But nowadays, you can make freshwater from seawater for about 6 kWh per ton (a cubic metre), or about $1 a ton, or put another way, about 0.1c per litre. This is still expensive for agricultural or industrial water, but it is next to nothing for drinking water. In other words, any well-organized country should be able to provide drinking water for all its citizens for next to no cost. There will be money to be made providing these services, but profits are not likely to compare well with other commodities like oil, which is worth about 600 times more, volume for volume, i.e. about 60c per litre ($100 per gallon).

Regards, DTM
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DTM,

I spoke to my friend and she said that her concern is related to climate change and drought related agricultural troubles.

It also comes to mind that Dr. Michael Burry has put all of his money from his bet against housing into agricultural land with its own water sources.

I do not think that the worries are about drinking water per se.

Your comment about removing the salt from sea water is something that I have heard before. The glacial melting waters flow downward through rivers to the sea. Instead of having recurring Spring and Summer melts, that occur when some of the glacier melts due to seasonal warmth is a bit different to glaciers that completely melt and are not there to provide extra seasonal river water in future.

I do not know enough about the science of ocean systems to imagine how massive sea salt removal systems would affect that important eco-system.

So as you sea (pun intended) the back and forth chat on this board makes one think of things a bit more than when one is pondering on one's own.

Sincerely,

jan

:^)
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I do not know enough about the science of ocean systems to imagine how massive sea salt removal systems would affect that important eco-system.


There should be little or no effect, it is basically what happens naturally anyways, as the sun evaporates water from the sea's surface. In this case, we are taking fresh water from the ocean, using it for a variety of purposes, and then returning it (via runoff, or sewage) to the same place, as slightly less fresh water so to speak! There is no way we could ever remove enough to affect the salinity of the ocean, even if it weren't all flowing back within a few hours or days, but since it is returning, it's basically a non issue. It's like the water flowing from our tap that we are supposed to turn off while we brush our teeth. In most cases, that water will be back in the same body of water it came from, within a few hours, so the only remaining concern is that we waste our resources filtering and treating and pumping municipal water that is squandered, but it really has no impact on the amount of water that is left.

It is true that desalination is too expensive to be a practical solution for agriculture, even at $1 a ton. Land with abundant groundwater that is not threatened by someone else using it may certainly be more valuable in parts of the world where rain is scarcer. On the other hand, global climate change has winners and losers, and some places will actually have more rain, like Norway maybe:


During the past century, precipitation in Norway has risen by about 20 percent, and that trend is expected to continue.

"The extent of the flooding and landslides in Norway is expected to increase as a result of more precipitation and more intense rainfall," the government said in the report on long-term challenges.

"Meanwhile, more precipitation can result in higher production of hydroelectric power, and milder winters will lead to lower fuel costs," it added.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/08/us-norway-power-hy...

This is why the global warming debate is so complex - there is a lot of feedback, some of it positive, some of it negative, as in this case.

Here's another interesting example:

The one mechanism, called "wet-gets-wetter," predicts that rainfall should increase in regions that already have much rain, with a tendency for dry regions to get dryer. The second mechanism, called the "warmer-gets-wetter," predicts rainfall should increase in regions where sea surface temperature rises above the tropical average warming.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415182510.ht...


But I wouldn't likely want to bet against Burry. What does he think of Tesla?

Regards, DTM
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Cute! I haven't asked Burry about Tesla!

However, DTM too much rain on some places will make it impossible to plant crops... too little rain in other places can be irrigated (if) fresh water is nearby, free/cheap and plentiful.

But back to the Calvert Water Fund... do you like that better than a gold fund?

How can science know when an ocean has become so salty that the marine ecosystem is endangered?

Worrying is my usual mode of investment thinking even with Tesla... I worry that Musk is working too hard and may get sick.

Geniuses are all different. Burry is one, Warren is one and I think Elon is too.

Me a genius?... not so much!

ha!

jan

:^)
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How can science know when an ocean has become so salty that the marine ecosystem is endangered?


The question doesn't really apply, because any H2O taken from the sea gets back into the sea pretty quickly, through runoff or sewage.

But if it did, it would be easy to measure. The world's oceans are all about the same salinity, about 35 parts per thousand by weight, varying by less than 2% because of their huge interconnections and mixing. So if some evil water hog decided to store as much desalinated water as he could outside the seas, for instance, storing the equivalent of all the currently available fresh water in the world, i.e. all the current lakes, rivers, reservoirs and accessible aquifers (these constitute about 0.007% of all the water on earth), then the salinity of the ocean would go up by about .01%, which would probably be a detectable difference but would have no significant effect on life.


Worrying is my usual mode of investment thinking even with Tesla... I worry that Musk is working too hard and may get sick.

You've certainly picked an investment that has plenty to worry about!

Good luck, DTM
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The question doesn't really apply, because any H2O taken from the sea gets back into the sea pretty quickly, through runoff or sewage.

Sure, but each time the water gets back into the sea, it carries with it fertilizer, pesticides, medications, road salt that may have been mined and not just evaporated from ocean water, and so on. Look at the Gulf of Mexico even before BP ruined it. Huge dead zones due to agricultural runoff.
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There is no global water shortage - there is exactly the same amount of water now as there has been for centuries, maybe a little more recently as some of the ice caps thaw. - DTM

Yes and no. You're right about the total quantity of water globally...it doesn't change all that much.

What's missing from your analysis is an examination of how that water is distributed.

For example, half the population of the US relies on groundwater for its potable supply. The folks living in the high plains and points south draw water from the Ogallala aquifer...and that aquifer is being pumped dry. These folks reside far from viable alternate water sources. Desalination, for them, is not an economically practicable solution.

Potable water is in short (and ever shrinking) supply. I consider this a growing macroeconomic concern. As an investor, I believe this will lead to lucrative opportunities. As a human being, I worry about my brethren/sisteren who'll find themselves thirsty and desperate.
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putnid, well said.

how does an investor (like you) approach this problem?

jan
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how does an investor (like you) approach this problem? - jan

I can't offer an adequate answer. As it happens, environmental engineering was my profession (I'm retired now). The firms that participate in the water supply/desalination arena are far-flung and typically engage in a broad spectrum of activities that can't be categorized as "pure plays" in the water supply niche. I'm still doing research, though, and may find a good candidate or two in the coming years.

Not wanting to leave you empty-handed, I'll reference something I posted on Value Hounds recently. I mentioned GDF Suez (GDFZY):

http://boards.fool.com/ok-ill-toss-out-a-name-i-kinda-loveha...

Water supply services/desalination constitute just a small fraction of the company's portfolio. Even so, I rather like that aspect of the company.

That's just one idea...something others may find worth chewing on.

I'm keeping my eyes open for other opportunities. And I sure as heck will appreciate the fact that others may have sharper eyes than I...
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putnid,

Thank you for your response. Since this was your "before retirement" field of endeavor, your input to the board is particularly valuable.

I am always amazed at all of the thinkers who contribute to this forum.

Thanks so much for chiming in.

Sincerely,

jan

:^)
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As a human being, I worry about my brethren/sisteren who'll find themselves thirsty and desperate.



That's a little melodramatic, given that water costs less than a penny a litre to make. Yes, there will be some problems getting ultra-cheap water in some places that want it for agriculture or industry. No, people will not be 'thirsty and desperate' unless they can't cough up a penny a day to buy some water, but then, they will also be hungry, cold, wet, etc., so compassionate human beings will have lots to worry about, but water won't be high on the list.

dtm
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"Southern Great Plains could run out of groundwater in 30 years, study finds"

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2012/0530/Southern-Grea...

Tim
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Potable water is in short (and ever shrinking) supply. I consider this a growing macroeconomic concern. As an investor, I believe this will lead to lucrative opportunities. As a human being, I worry about my brethren/sisteren who'll find themselves thirsty and desperate.

In some parts of the world the situation is so bad already that one country has been fighting serious wars of aggression for over 60 years, conquering territory and killing and expelling neighbors to get their water. I do not suppose that is the only reason they are doing that, but it is surely one of the reasons. And the US gives them $3 to $4 billion a year to do it. And in another part of the world people are already dieing in wholesale numbers because of lack of drinking water and even water for agriculture and sanitation. It is already happening.

I wonder when the US will go to war with Canada for water? Or will we just buy them out, if the US dollar does not fall so much compared with the Canadian one that we cannot afford it. We could start by buying Lake Superior, I suppose, and building a pipeline to water the golf courses in Nevada and southern California.
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"Southern Great Plains could run out of groundwater in 30 years, study finds" -- from Tim's link

There was another interesting link on water where Tim's (karensie) link took you:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0530/How-climate-chang...

titled: "How climate change destroyed one of the world's largest civilizations"

Change isn't something new.

Rob
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No, people will not be 'thirsty and desperate' unless they can't cough up a penny a day to buy some water, but then, they will also be hungry, cold, wet, etc., so compassionate human beings will have lots to worry about, but water won't be high on the list.

It won't be high on the list? People are dieing of thirst right now. They are killing one another for it. Some people make no money at all. Lots make less than $1/day. They do not have a penny a day for water even if there were someone to sell it to them at that price. They are also hungry, cold, wet, etc. And die from lack of sanitation facilities that they once had, but wealthy so-called civilized countries bombed their water treatment plants, their sewage treatment plants, the electric power plants, basically back to slightly post stone-age living standards. We call this brining them democracy. Bah!
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They are also hungry, cold, wet, etc. And die from lack of sanitation facilities that they once had, but wealthy so-called civilized countries bombed their water treatment plants, their sewage treatment plants, the electric power plants, basically back to slightly post stone-age living standards. We call this brining them democracy. Bah!


This argument is getting silly, as I should have known it would, and I don't know which countries you are talking about, but I don't really want to go on with a political argument.

My point was that there can be no global water shortage, although of course there can be local shortages. We will eventually run out of fossil fuels, probably in 100-300 years, but will never run out things like iron, copper, gold, etc., which we are just moving around from one part of the planet to another. This is particularly true of water. This doesn't mean that everyone has as much as they want, but that is another question.

Regards, DTM
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This argument is getting silly, as I should have known it would, and I don't know which countries you are talking about, but I don't really want to go on with a political argument.

I deliberately left the names of the countries out to reduce the political aspects of this.

My point was that there can be no global water shortage, although of course there can be local shortages.

While you are correct that the number of molecules of H2O on the planet will probably remain pretty much the same, the amount of usable water on the planet decreases. One reason is that a lot of the water on the planet is fossil, just as petroleum and coal are. And we are mining it (drilling deep wells for agriculture and golf courses in the desert) and are in the process of pumping them dry. Also climate change is increasing the areas of what you call "local." When these "local" areas increase in size, it becomes less and less acceptable to call it local. Consider that the Sahara desert is continually increasing in size. Sure it is local, but that does not make the lot of these people any better. And if you stuck a desalinization plant on the north of Africa and pumped enough water throughout north Africa to solve their water problems, the Mediterranean would no doubt get much saltier. Who would pay for the pipelines? Would it do any good?

Maybe we do not care about Africa. Let them all die from war or starvation, or thirst, of wars. But Georgia (the U.S. one) is having severe problems. Idahoe seems to have them too: a friend bought property there and she was not allowed to build on it because there was not enough water in that area to allow building. Sure that is local now, but in 25 years? Texas is having a bad time, The Colorado river does not flow well anymore. The water never even reached Mexico for a while. Is THAT local?
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The Bill and Melinda Gates (and Warren Buffett) Foundation is involved with water hygeine and no-flush toilets.

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/Global-Development...

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation is involved with no-till farming and water resources worldwide.

http://www.thehowardgbuffettfoundation.org/initiatives/

At least one Berkshire company is involved with water resources.

About Us | A Berkshire Hathaway Company
An Eco Friendly Water System Company

http://www.ecowater.com/about-us

Tim
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>How can science know when an ocean has become so salty that the marine ecosystem is endangered?

More to the point, you take water out of the ocean leaving the salt, if the water is not going back to the ocean, then ocean levels will FALL. Considering that the politically correct fear with climate change is that ocean levels will rise due to the melting of polar ice and glaciers, then desalinating the ocean to get fresh water would actually be a corrective action!

But of course all the water you take out goes back in. And the oceans get ever so slightly saltier every million years not due to anything puny humans can do, but due to the quazillions of gallons of water flowing in rivers back to the sea, picking up a tiny bit of salt and other minerals as they flow over the land. Eventually I suppose the oceans will be as salty as the Great Salt Lake, the Salton Sea, and the Dead Sea, but that might not happen until after the sun explodes.

Seriously, nothing humans are doing effects salinity of the oceans overall in any measurable way.

R:
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Seriously, nothing humans are doing effects salinity of the oceans overall in any measurable way.

Do not underestimate what humans can do.

We put enough acid into the oceans to destroy coral reefs.

We put enough nutrients into the Gulf of Mexico to create large dead zones.

Who knows what the radioactive stuff we put into the water is doing.

Chisso Chemical Company put enough stuff into the sea around Japan to cause a major disaster: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minamata_disease
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On a more positive note, while...

"Drought Worsens, Scorching Much of the Country"

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100647130

...and...

"Southwest Rivers and Budgets are Both Drying Up"

http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/02/thirsty-future-southwest...

...the US and Canada are very diverse ecosystems.

"The Breadbasket of America: New England?"

"From Maine and Vermont to New York and Pennsylvania, a growing number of farmers, bakers, brewers, distillers, and food educators are working to create a regional grain network throughout the Northeast."

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/03/the-breadb...

Tim
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This is a remarkably stupid thread.

We will always have drinking water. It is really cheap, and we can outbid any other use.

Some types of agriculture will be forced out by high water costs.

Life will go on.
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We will always have drinking water. It is really cheap, and we can outbid any other use.

Some types of agriculture will be forced out by high water costs.

Life will go on.


That is a typically provincial American point of view.

In some parts of the world, water for drinking and cooking is so expensive that people cannot get it and die.

In India, right now, people, especially farmers, are committing suicide in great numbers because they cannot even farm enough to provide for their families, due to the lack of water. Some of this is due to climate change, some to water mining and pollution by CocaCola company, and other reasons. When subsistance argriculture is crushed to the point that life does not go on, I think your remarks trivialize an extremely serious problem.
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"We will always have drinking water. It is really cheap, and we can outbid any other use."

Actually you would have to accurately identify who you are referring to with your use of the word "We". If you are referring to humans who life in wealthy, first world countries. You would be correct. If you were referring to all humans, you are incorrect because there are already humans in undeveloped parts of the world struggling to meet basic drinking needs.

"This is a remarkably stupid thread."

Indeed it is.

It is stupid because there are people talking past each other.

On one hand some people are looking at it from a high level macro point of view. Mankind will survive and life will go on. This is true because water is so plentiful, drinking water is such a basic necessity of life, and there is enough wealth involved to make sure enough drinkable water is found/created.

On the other hand, a group of people are looking at it from a micro level/individual point of view. Even though mankind will survive and life will go on, on an individual level there will quite a few people who will suffer. Most likely the poorest who are least equiped to handle the changes (and sadly enough those are also the least responsible for the cause of those changes).

It all just depends upon your point of view.
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On the other hand, a group of people are looking at it from a micro level/individual point of view. Even though mankind will survive and life will go on, on an individual level there will quite a few people who will suffer. Most likely the poorest who are least equiped to handle the changes (and sadly enough those are also the least responsible for the cause of those changes).

It all just depends upon your point of view.


The thread's subject (in the title) is 'global water shortage', so it seems the macro point of view is warranted. We as a planet are not running out of water. There is, and probably always will be, plenty of water on this planet. Stating this does not trivialize the problems of some people who have problems with water, too much of it, too little of it, what they have being polluted, having to pay too much to get it, etc. It is true that when some people correctly say that there is no global water shortage, and others reply that this is not true, because there is a drought in X place, or because farmers in Y place are having troubles, we have the phenomenon of people taling pas each other.

Technology now allows the very cheap production of drinking water, even from seawater if necessary, so there is no need for people to die of thirst, though of course some people will anyways, because of regional conflicts, extreme poverty, inadequate infrastructures, corrupt government, wars, etc. This does not necessarily suggest that there is a lot of money to be made from providing water to these people. And farmers in India committing suicide because they can't maintain their existing farming techniques with the available water does not constitute 'dying of thirst'.

Regards, DTM
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By coincidence, Bloomberg just posted this article regarding water issues in India:

http://tinyurl.com/btqjae2

India, the world’s second-most populous nation, is doubling spending on water management to a record as conglomerates from the Tatas to Adani face shortages that the United Nations calls an impending crisis.

The federal and state governments have set aside 1.1 trillion rupees ($20 billion) for sewage treatment, irrigation and recycling for the five-year period ending March 2017, G. Mohan Kumar, special secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources, said in an interview. The nation with 1.2 billion people, which treats only 20 percent of its sewage, is pouring more money as inadequate clean water is threatening to stunt growth in industrial and farm output.

India has 18 percent of the world’s population and four percent of the globe’s water resources,

India’s demand for clean water by 2030 may exceed supply by 50 percent while pollution is making what’s available unfit for human consumption, industrial or farm use, according to McKinsey & Co. forecasts and a government report.

Jim Rogers, the investor who foresaw the start of a commodity rally in 1999, said he is “extremely optimistic” about investing in water amid scarce supply in countries from India to the U.S.
“If you can find ways to invest in water, you will be extremely rich because we do have a serious water problem in many parts of the world like India, China, the southwestern part of the U.S., and west of the Red Sea,” Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, told reporters in Singapore on April 15.

The S&P Global Water Index of 50 companies has surged 162 percent since Nov. 30, 2001, when Bloomberg began compiling the measure. In comparison, the S&P Global Oil Index has risen 135 percent in the same period and the S&P/TSX Global Gold Sector Index (SPTSGD) has climbed 37 percent.
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putnid and everyone,

Now this thread is looking at water as an investment... like my friend's proposition about investing in "water" through a Calvert fund.

Thinking about a commodity that is a necessity and why that necessity has become an investment opportunity to some folks, helps us all think about water together.

How does a fund or an individual like Jim Rogers "hold" water?

Please talk about water as an investment... how it becomes an investment and how that whole process works. One can own commodities by possessing them.. in the simplest way one can have a bar of gold under a floor board, a tank of oil in a shed, and ownership can become not one of possession but one of securitization.

I can envision a gold bar or gold coins hidden under a floor board. It is possible to have some barrels of oil in a barn or a shed. But having lived on a farm where the well ran dry from time to time and we had to buy water, the simplest form of possessing water isn't from the physical water but from owning the water rights to a river/delta that is poring into something like the Great Lakes as I have read Nestle does, even though (IIRC) the water of The Great Lakes is not supposed to be sold to industry.

Anyway, what are the nuts and bolts of owning or investing in water, aside from owning a glacier?

Anyone know?

Sincerely,

jan

:^)
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Some years ago, some governments in (IIRC) central or south America sold public water supply companies to private owners. To make money by selling a public good to private investors. The then private investors then greatly raised the price of water. The people who needed the water for drinking and sanitation pretty much revolted, and death squads were needed to subdue the people. It got pretty ugly. I do not remember what happened next. Perhaps the private investors gave it up as a bad investment.

There is information about this on the Internet. Here is one link:

https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/215/4...
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Today is Earth Day.

"Google celebrates Earth Day 2013 with interactive doodle"

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/new...

I am reminded that upstate NY is a hotbed of fracking opposition by those believing that it leads to grounwater contamination.

"New York State Assembly Passes Fracking Moratorium In Largely Symbolic Measure"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/new-york-state-asse...

Extraction of oil from oil sands uses a lot of water and is one reason for opposition to the Keystone pipeline and Berkshire's plan to haul oil on BNSF trains.

http://www.foe.org/projects/climate-and-energy/tar-sands

"Buffett's Railroad Goes All In On Shale Oil"

http://www.wealthwire.com/news/energy/4386

Tim
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In some parts of the world, water for drinking and cooking is so expensive that people cannot get it and die.

I think what you mean is that there are some parts of the world where some people have so little money that they cannot get water for drinking and cooking and they die.

Worrying about water shortage because people can't afford water makes as much sense as opening a BYD (electric car) dealership in places where people can't afford the gasoline for their cars.


When subsistance argriculture is crushed to the point that life does not go on, I think your remarks trivialize an extremely serious problem.


The bigger problem would be thinking the solution is water when it is money. Or rather the distribution of water.

R:
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In some parts of the world, water for drinking and cooking is so expensive that people cannot get it and die.

I think what you mean is that there are some parts of the world where some people have so little money that they cannot get water for drinking and cooking and they die.

Worrying about water shortage because people can't afford water makes as much sense as opening a BYD (electric car) dealership in places where people can't afford the gasoline for their cars.


What is the matter with you?

Where are these people supposed to walk to (no money for cars, bus tickets, etc.) to get their water? What if the people with the water will not let them in? Do you think, for example, that Israel will let the Palestinians in even for a drink of water? What if they are too weak from thirst and starvation to walk that far, even if they know where that is?

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175690/tomgram%3A_michael_kl...
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I think what you mean is that there are some parts of the world where some people have so little money that they cannot get water for drinking and cooking and they die.

==========

What is the matter with you?

Where are these people supposed to walk to (no money for cars, bus tickets, etc.) to get their water?


JD,

You are not really listening. Ralph is not saying there is no problem, he is saying the problem is political or economic, not technical. If someone is prevented from getting access to water because of illness, or because they have no transportation, or because a soldier will not let them cross a boundary, then it is senseless to attribute the problem to a 'global shortage of water'. That would be a distraction from the main issue, which is that there is an illness, or a transportation problem, or a war, or whatever, that is causing the thirst.

Your argument that a shortage of water is the problem is like saying there is a world shortage of oxygen, and the proof is that some poor guy is being choked to death and is dying of anoxia. It will not help that guy for you to get busy on seeing how you could get a little more oxygen in the atmosphere, or hypothesizing about why there is less than there used to be.

Regards, DTM
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Ralph is not saying there is no problem, he is saying the problem is political or economic, not technical.

OK. I will accept that that is what he is saying. And I apologize for interpreting what he said in a different way and being too harsh.

So if your explanation of what he is saying is correct, I disagree with his position, but no longer condemn him for being heartless.

It is my view, however, that the problem is almost surely all three: political, economic, and technical. And that just makes it more difficult to solve, not less, and meanwhile, while wating for the politicians, and the moneyed people who control them, do whatever they do, selling water for over $1/gallon that used to be free or $0.01/1000 gallons, and letting poor Africans and middle-Easterners die of thirst, what is to be done?

An economist who worked at the University of Chicago, not in the economics department with Milton Friedman, but in the Law department did not find this incongruous with his view of economics because he felt the two fields were extremely close together and dealt with similar issues.

This paper of his may be illustrative of this:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&a...
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