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Where will your water be coming from and will you have to fight for it?
November 12, 2008 3:50 PM   Subscribe

The map to "blue gold" may define or avert future wars.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (22 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I drink your water! I drink it up!
posted by Rock Steady at 4:01 PM on November 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Peter Annin's book The Great Lakes Water Wars is highly recommended reading on this topic.
posted by acro at 4:07 PM on November 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I hear that the map to nose gold has a bridge guarded by nose goblins.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:11 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


The major problem facing ground water usage is the lack of integration between aquifer knowledge and over-land/fluvial flow knowledge. We know pretty damn well that two are connected, and that problems in one will lead to problems in the other, but even in Australia, where water resources are a major issue, there is little overlap between government agencies. Aquifers aren't a great solution to a water crisis, we here have the world's largest artesian aquifer and even that isn't looking too great at the moment.

The article certainly hits the nail on the head about the difficulty in telling who 'owns' so much of each aquifer. They fluctuate, do not follow topography and their distribution is easily modified by human interaction.

A map of sustainable irrigation practices, now that might lead to some conflict resolution.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 4:16 PM on November 12, 2008


I drink your water, and sink your cities!
posted by phyrewerx at 4:29 PM on November 12, 2008


Aquifers have an unlimited supply of water, but they can make mining difficult.
posted by Phssthpok at 4:41 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Great post. Aquifers are something that completely fascinate me, yet I could never wrap my brain around them. I have a hard time envisioning vast underground seas. Does the water flow like a river? How did the water get there? How deep are they? How far underground? Any signs of life? Wikipedia here I come.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:45 PM on November 12, 2008


This post was really interesting, and after a lot of stuff which makes people act fucking weird, highly welcome. Thank you.
posted by djgh at 4:50 PM on November 12, 2008


MetaFilter: Blue Gold
posted by not_on_display at 5:06 PM on November 12, 2008


Water Crisis? What Water Crisis?
posted by kliuless at 5:27 PM on November 12, 2008


PDF format is redundant.
posted by Eideteker at 6:50 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a hard time envisioning vast underground seas.

Which is just as well, as aquifers are largely porous sediment and earth (that is, lots of holes for the water to sit in) with an impermeable layer (and aquitard) keeping it still.

Does the water flow like a river?

Nope, it infiltrates (going through the surface) an then percolates (pulled through the sediment by gravity amongst other forces) at a very slow rate, hence the concern about slow recharge. There are a lot of groovy applications that let you recreate their movement if one cares to google.

How did the water get there?

Water flowing overland (usually rainfall, occasionally snow-melt) that seeps through the ground. This includes water flowing through rivers; in fact that's what keeps perennial rivers (rivers that always flow) flowing, being a water table directly beneath them.

How deep are they?


Sometimes incredibly shallow, given a suitable aquitard. Some (like the Great Artesian Aquifer I mentioned earlier) are as deep as 3 kilometres.

Any signs of life?

A lot, am bloody important parts of the ecosystem too, if I say so myself. Of course it's all largely microbial. There's even important life in what's known as the hyporheic zone (the bit between a stream and the underneath water table) where bacteria and invertebrates act as a 'filter' between the ground water and river.

Wikipedia here I come.


Oh... well never mind then.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 6:53 PM on November 12, 2008 [6 favorites]


Here is a great, simple freeware aquifer simulation program (as I was talking about earlier).

In retrospective, when talking about ground water simulation, my use of the term 'groovy' may have been a bit subjective....
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 6:59 PM on November 12, 2008


Okay. Off the top of my head this is my script:

Almost post-apocalyptic near future where, like in the Dune books, water defines wealth. The most precious technologies are those dealing with desalinization, reclamation, and sewer treatment.

Cities like Seattle, with still higher than average rainfalls, are the Switzerland's of this world. These places have high walls around them.

The corporations have privatized all water resources. Every lake and reservoir in the country is a walled off fortress. Rivers are patrolled by robotic sailing craft that will kill anybody on the bank.

The plot is about a group of people taking over a desalinization plant in order to force the government into nationalizing them only to find out the plant, and most around the world, is entirely bogus.Turns out the entire concept was just too expensive from the get go - what iwth building nuke plants to power them and all. So. The government is trying to kill off (and enrich the corporations by driving up the price) overpopulated areas by holding back water.

Think it will sell?
posted by tkchrist at 7:16 PM on November 12, 2008


Think it will sell?

Hard to say. A worldwide water shortage would make it hard for the insurrectionary heroine to emerge from a lake, scantily clad and dripping; on the other hand, I bet an MSF distillation plant would blow up real good.

Soylent Clear is PEOPLE!
posted by DaDaDaDave at 7:48 PM on November 12, 2008


PDF format is redundant.

Who cares, as long as they're convenient and easy to read on an LCD display.
posted by rokusan at 6:42 AM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


What the UNESCO map reveals is just how many aquifers cross international borders....

Each trans-boundary aquifer holds the potential for international conflict - if two countries share an aquifer, pumping in one country will affect its neighbour's water supply.


I'm worried how much time and money was spent to find that conclusion. You mean ancient geologic formations don't respect arbitrary political lines we redraw on maps every fifty years?

How dare they. Let's bomb them.
posted by rokusan at 6:44 AM on November 13, 2008


Since today is conspiracy Thursday: Isn't that ranch the Bushes bought in Paraguay right on top of one of the world's largest aquifers?

I wonder how many of those ultra high-security briefings in the last eight years related to fresh water supplies? If I see Clintons or Obamas buying land on top of foreign aquifers I'm officially entering zombie survival panic mode.
posted by rokusan at 6:48 AM on November 13, 2008


Who cares, as long as they're convenient and easy to read on an LCD display.

this is either an amusing misunderstanding or an awesome joke. either way:

lol.
posted by shmegegge at 8:22 AM on November 13, 2008


Think it will sell?

Well, throw in Lori Petty banging a mutant kangaroo, and I think it already did.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:10 PM on November 13, 2008


PDF format is redundant

Eideteker would you expand ?
posted by southof40 at 1:28 AM on November 14, 2008


I'd explain, but I need to run off to the ATM machine.
posted by lukemeister at 7:26 AM on November 14, 2008


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