U.N. holds rare conference on global water crisis


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Water pollution should be more thoroughly tackled. In many parts of South East Asia and South Asia, a heavy rain will cause floods that turn the area incredibly disgusting and unhealthy.

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The world needs to get on board the program to provide desalinated ocean water wherever it is needed. The Israelis pioneered the technology to make fresh water out of salt water, to the point where today even their agricultural water comes mostly from the ocean. They have helped build water plants here in California, and even offered to build a plant in Mexico to supply water to Mexico and Arizona, with no tax-payer funds to be used in construction of the desalination plant. (So far, Arizona has turned them down.)

Throughout the Middle East and California desalination plants have been built. It is a technology whose time has come.

Of course, we have other problems to deal with, like the massive pollution allowed to go into the ocean and into the atmosphere.

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Every day 5,000 children die from diarrhea acquired from unsafe drinking water. The total burden of morbidity due to unsafe drinking water is difficult to estimate, but over 1 billion episodes of gastroenteritis and other infections annually are attributed to it each year.

1.85 million children every year.

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The oceans have been a mess from oil spills for a long time. Remember the Exxon Valdez? And the oily waters around the Persian Gulf will take 180 years to dissipate the gunk. But all those armchair generals and skippy kids in 1991 didn't think about that - it was 'rah rah rah! Yippy-yippy=yi-yay!' And during the Obama era there was a HUGE BP petroleum leak in the Gulf of Mexico. President Obama said, 'Somebody fix the damn thing!' and all the press could talk about was about him saying a cuss word.

Our own sattelites can see it from orbit too. This is much too big to keep ignoring.

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1glenn, desalinization is a very poor choice for most of the world. In a world were we are struggling to produce clean energy desalinization requires vast amounts of electrical energy to operate. The price of desalinized water per acre foot is double that of the most expensive imported water in California. Because desalinization plants are almost universally pulling water from the worlds oceans, or maybe one of the big inland seas like the Caspian Sea that lie basically at sea level, water from such a plant has to be pumped uphill to most of the users. Pumping water uphill is tremendously expensive and energy intensive. Pumping water from the SanJoaquin Valley over the mountains to Southern California adds somewhere between $500-$800 an acre foot to the cost of the water.

A much less costly and considerably more sensible alternative is to treat waste water to a drinkable standard and pump this back into local aquifers or mix it with surface water in large reservoirs. Treated waste water is about as expensive as the most expensive imported water in California and about half the price of desalinized water. It also doesn't need to be pumped uphill tens or hundreds of kilometers from the ocean. Waste water can treated locally as it generally is now, but instead evaporating it in ponds it is pumped back into the aquifer.

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What amazes me is that even in China's premier city for business, and their largest in terms of population, Shanghai the tap water is not safe to drink. While bacteria is not so much of a risk, the water which is mostly drawn from the middle of the Yangtze River is heavily contaminated with chemicals and metals that the Chinese either cannot or will not filter out.

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