Water - The Life Blood of Planet Earth
Water is the life blood of planet earth. It is the main ingredient for all forms of life on earth as we know it. Without it this planet would be a desert.
Water covers over 70 percent of the earth's surface and fresh water makes up 2.5% of the total water supply across the planet of which 70 percent is in the form of snow and ice packs in the Polar Regions. 96 percent of ALL water is found in the oceans and seas and less than 2 percent in ground water with less than one percent in rivers, streams and lakes.
The total water supply on earth is estimated to be around 366 million, trillion gallons of water. According to a UNESCO Report that quantity of water is fixed and water does not vanish or disappear anywhere (There is a less than .000001% loss to space through evaporation) but just moves around and changes form, so water is not in short supply. There is plenty of it on this planet. Only the form and the location of water may change, not its quantity, and this is the main issue with water supply on this planet. Interestingly water composes around 50 to 65 percent of the human body with similar ratios in other animals, and much of the plant life also has a sizable volume of water.
Water is composed simply of oxygen and hydrogen with two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen in each molecule of water. These two elements are two of the most common elements in the universe and likely throughout the universe. In fact, a Report issued in July 2011 by Researchers Whitney Clavin and Alan Buis, describes the discovery of a gigantic cloud of water vapor containing "140 trillion times more water than all of Earth's oceans combined" around a quasar located 12 billion light years from Earth. According to the researchers, the "discovery shows that water has been prevalent in the universe for nearly its entire existence".
Water has even been detected in interstellar clouds within our galaxy, the Milky Way. These interstellar clouds eventually condense into solar nebulae and solar systems such as ours.
Back in our neck of the woods, water vapor has been discovered in the atmosphere of:
And water has been located in Saturn and in Mercury even in the form of ice.
It has recently been discovered that Europa, one of Jupiter's moons probably has three times the water under the surface than on our entire planet.
So there is an abundance of water in this universe and it is not a rare commodity at all as some might lead us to believe.
Here on earth, we use less than .001 percent of the total water supply so there is never going to be a short supply of water for our needs. It is the management and distribution of water that is the main focus of governments and private companies today.
To support this, a third of the world's population have a limited or no access to clean water. According to the Global Water Systems project (GWSP), the changes in human locations into concentrated areas and cities is having an affect on the availability of water. Mostly through water flows and storage. More water needs to be stored in high density population areas as the population moves to the cities. Other factors such as the increase in desert areas and high salt content earth as a result of erosion and deforestation are all contributing to the effect.
The Bonn Declaration also stated, "Millions of individual local human actions add up and reverberate into larger regional, continental and global changes that have drastically changed water flows and storage." It went on further, "In the short span of one or two generations, the majority of the nine billion people on Earth will be living under the handicap of severe pressure on fresh water."
Perhaps this is what prompted the former CEO and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nestlé Peter Brabeck, to declare during an interview in 2005, "water should not be a public right, that instead it should be something only the wealthy have access to. Access to water is not your right believing you have a right to water - is an extreme belief. Water is a raw material and a 'foodstuff' that should be privatized and commercialized."
However in a later statement in April 2013 he sought to clarify this comment by saying, "I do need to correct a misconception that has fuelled a lot of the criticism on Facebook and elsewhere. I do not deny that clean and safe water to drink or for basic hygiene is a human right. Of course it is. However, I do not think it is right that some people in the world do not have access to a clean, safe supply when others can use excess amounts for non-essential purposes without bearing a fairer cost for the infrastructure needed to supply it. When we give water a value, we use it more carefully, and this does not mean privatization."
It should be noted however, that Nestlé has embarked upon a policy of buying up many of the worlds natural water sources and bottling companies to the point where they now own around 75 water bottling companies including famous brands such as Perrier, San Pellegrino, Deer Park, Deep Spring, Ice Mountain, Vittel, Acqua Panna, Contrex and many others to numerous to mention. A cursory browse through Wikipedia will find a full list and a lot of information regarding Nestlés policy of acquire water rights of water sources and natural springs. Whether this acquisition policy is an attempt to garner control of the world's drinking water for profit purposes, or a way to control and distribute fairly the water of the planet, I leave up to the politicians in us to debate.
Suffice to say this illustrates the focus being placed on the global water supply
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, how does this affect Australia? The water situation in Australia is well known and familiar to most Australians. In one area there may be too much water with wet seasons and flooding and yet in others, such as the desert area and some outback towns, a scarcity of water. Depending on the season and weather, Australia is prone to flooding and drought conditions that severely tax our resources.
Most of Australia's fresh water comes from Snow from the highlands and rainwater. These accumulate in catchments or reservoirs and dams and fresh water is drawn off these and processed for human use. Across Australia chemicals are added to the domestic and industrial water used such as Chloride and Fluoride and there is considerable disagreement about these additions to the general water supply. Particularly as many countries in Europe have now banned the addition of Fluoride, for example, to their drinking water supply including Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, Hungary, and even in Asia, China and Japan have banned the addition of fluoride to the drinking water.
Some of the efforts to reduce the problems with water include the setting up of desalination plants in which sea water is processed and converted to fresh water. The individual setting up of rain water tanks and collectors helps to reduce the dependence on the water supply. In the country, bore water is also drawn and used. This is a high upfront cost but not as high as the construction of desalination plants. The Western Australia Plant was an expensive build but has been successful in that it now supplies 140 megalitres of water from the sea to furnish Perth homes. But not all are a success story. The Melbourne Desalination Plant in Wonthaggi for example, has been somewhat of a white elephant. The cost of the plant, which has yet to be used and just sits there, is estimated will cost Victorian Taxpayers an enormous 3.17 Billion dollars over the life of the agreement made with Aquasure, the company that built the plant. Bob the builder eat your heart out!
According to the 1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012, An ABS publication Water Account, Australia (4610.0) describes the flow of water from the environment into the economy, and then back to the environment. It provides data on the use of water by households, businesses and governments within the economy, and water returns to the environment.
The 2009-10 water account showed that "64,076 gigalitres (GL) of water was extracted from the environment and used within the Australian economy during 2009-10. The majority of this (86%) was extracted directly from the environment by water users, while the remaining water was extracted by the Water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry and then supplied to users." And that, "In 2009-10, the Agriculture industry was by far the largest consumer of water, accounting for 52% of total water consumption in that year. The Water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry and Household sector were the next highest (14% each), followed by the Manufacturing industry (5%)"
As I write this Queensland is suffering an almost state wide drought that has lasted over a year and in some parts, two, with farmers suffering, insufficient feed being grown for livestock they are either being sold or killed. A far cry from a few years ago when they were subject to floods. Across Australia the weather has caused havoc with floods, excessive rain fall or drought with little or no rainfall and fire hazards and other bizarre weather conditions.
Yet, the Great Artesian Basin, one of the largest catchments of water underground in the world, occupying around 22 percent of Australia over 1.7 million square kilometers under Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory, can provide sufficient water to handle any drought that may occur. This is a primary source of bore water which can be used during times of drought. The main expense with this is the initial setting up of the pumps.
According to a NT Report, "when a bore is pumped, the water level in the bore drops, this is known as "drawdown". Pumping lowers the pressure at the bore inlets and water flows into them from the cracks and spaces in the aquifer. It is important to note the rate at which water can be pumped from the bore depends on the rate it can flow through the aquifer, and on the available drawdown."
When a groundwater formation (aquifer) is found and accessed by drilling a bore, the water pressure establishes a standing water level in the bore. This level may rise and fall naturally with the seasons."
So there is no shortage of water and water can be obtained with some effort by governmental assistance.
But there appears to be an effort by authorities and even private institutions to climb on the bank wagon and manage the distribution of water globally.
Achim Steiner, the UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP executive director, stated that, "The sustainable management and use of water - due to its vital role in food security, energy or supporting valuable ecosystem services - underpins the transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient green economy."
Steiner believes that integrating UN policies for water resource management will facilitate a sustainable approach to water. The needs of the global population, which is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2050, will demand total governance. Disconcertingly, "The UN "suggests" that by 2015 all countries develop financing strategies and action programs that adhere to the IWRM. They want all nations to report to the UNEP concerning water resources management so that the UN can assess their progress and make changes as they see fit."
They are pushing for the securitization of water on a global scale, to be managed by the UN only with their recommendations effectively directed to individual governments to be made into laws. This means that the citizens of those nations will have to abide by the laws that govern the rationing of water world wide.
Likely, global warming will be offered up as an excuse for the implementation of this policy.
The issue here is that the worlds water supply effectively controlled by one body is dangerous as historically it can be shown that such control will eventually extend to other areas of the economy and entire countries can be held to ransom in order to be made compliant with other economic sanctions.
It is vital that each country work towards maintaining an independent water supply and that the water supply is not subject to regulation by one global body, either governmental or private.
Clavin, Whitney; Buis, Alan (22 July 2011).
"Astronomers Find Largest, Most Distant Reservoir of Water".
NASA. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
Great Artesian Basin map - PDF (PDF - 722.67 KB)
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