Thursday, 2 September 2021

Water, water, water everywhere but how much really?

Some time ago I mentioned something about the water, that is potable water, drinking water, problem. Yesterday on the BBC4 TV channel they showed a programme called ‘The H2O molecule that made us’. For the non-molecular scientists among us, H2O is the molecule that water is composed of. Two atoms of Hydrogen and one of Oxygen that have combined. It was worrying viewing. You think that we have problems with global warming, yes we have but the impending problem that is looming on the horizon is absolutely huge. We are using water reserves like there is no worry, there’s plenty for everyone, WRONG! It showed the Arabian peninsula now devoid of water which was pumped up, mostly gone. The Arabs set up a company that now grows crops in the Arizona desert and does exactly what they did in Saudi Arabia. There is only some 30% left and is expected to be gone within two years. The same story happens all across the world. Water is pumped up from wells and wasted. It waters crops but 90% is actually disappearing up in the air, the plants only use 5-10% for itself to grow and fruit. It was an eye-opener to see how water is actually transported across the world. You grow crops, say tomatoes in Arizona, use its water then export the tomatoes to Europe. What you actually are doing is exporting the water, it cannot irrigate Arizona again. Another fact was mentioned, the axis of the Earth has tilted because of the weight of all the dams that have been built. Water in reservoirs are quite a weight. There are thousands of dams already, mostly in the northern hemisphere. So, with many more people to feed it can only get worse. We will need to look seriously at how to conserve water. It is a finite resource. Funny to say it, we are surrounded by the stuff. Except we cannot use it, even if de-salinated there are loads of other chemicals harmful if ingested over time. So, look after what we’ve got. It is more precious than the oil we also pump out.

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