The diminishing supply of fossil fuels on this planet is driving the price of gasoline and diesel upward, causing economic disruption and energy security tensions. We’ve seen this happen over the years, from OPEC oil embargoes of the 1970s to the great recession of 2008, which was initiated by the oil price spike starting in the spring of that year. One one hand, the loss of affordable oil causes problems, and on the other, it is motivating governments, businesses, and consumers to reduce oil dependence and go after cleaner solutions.
Water is in the same camp as oil. Here’s a description of the topic of an upcoming IHS CERA seminar: ”Globally, water demand is expected to exceed supply by over 40 percent by 2030 as populations, economies and consumption rates increase at alarming rates, while the world’s water and energy resources are already near exhaustion.”
Water is used for all kinds of purposes — drinking water, washing, toilets, gardening, manufacturing, energy, etc. As the water supply diminishes on the planet, we can expect to see it become a major issue in election campaigns, strife between governments, protests and riots, and other tensions. Just like oil diminishing, and what the electricity industry is going through with depleting coal and concerns about its environmental impact, the world’s water supply is joining the ranks of diminishing natural resources and all the conflicts that go with it.
It usually takes a lot of troubles for human beings to go after solutions to a vexing problem — we’re seeing more of this because of our addiction to oil, and water appears to be joining the ranks. One solution that I’ve always wondered about is desalination of salt water into potable drinking water. I do see more press coverage and market reports on the subject — there are a lot of companies, and research and development organizations, taking on desalinating sea water and providing clean water. We do know that the ocean levels are rising with the melting of the polar ice caps. Even those who argue global warming is a myth can’t argue credibly that the ice caps aren’t melting. Ocean water levels are rising, and will be flooding a lot of beach-front land.
So, why not use that part of the global warming disaster for positive effects? There will be a big need for money to make this happen — public and private capital investment — to produce needed water at desalination plants and transport it to faucets. As we human being take on more of these environmental and energy crises, we’re becoming sweetly reasonable — unwilling and eventually willing — to find solutions and apply our creativity, intelligence, organization, pragmatism, and perseverance to surviving this problem and moving forward.