Over the last twelve months, I have observed different patterns that could accelerate the Watergeddon tipping point over the next ten years and cause massive migrations of millions of people running out of the water almost overnight.
Because of my complexity science background, I look for the patterns within a specific topic and how they are connected and interlinked to other trends related to Watergeddon. For example, watching the frequency, magnitude, and location of forest fires provides insight into the future soil erosion and massive flooding. Our forests serve a huge role in the absorption of water during severe weather storms while preventing soil erosion.
Studying the velocity of melting ice and glaciers across the world provides insight into how the seas level will change in the next few decades and which cities around the globe are preparing to transform themselves into another version of Venice. Of course, I am sarcastic. The real estate in these cities can kiss their investment goodbye. These are two variables continuously tracked and analyzed in how they interconnect and link to each other. Some of the other variables that we look for are:
• Water Demand: as a function of population size, agriculture production, local temperatures, etc.
• Water Scarcity: location, number of months, etc.
• Storms and Floods: frequency, size, and location, etc.
• Droughts: rate, size, and location, etc.
• Temperature: temperature change as a function of time
• Water Conflicts: frequency of conflicts, water treaties, countries in potential conflict as a function of religion, economics, demographics
• Rivers Stresses: diversion of rivers, the temperature of freshwater, damming of rivers, pollution
• Underground Water: aquifer pollution, rate of pumping and depletion
• Water Sanitation: types of technologies used and processes
• Water Pollutants: level of sewage, agricultural and industrial waste dumped into rivers
• Damaged and Threatened Ecosystems
• Water Economics: price by volume, type of customer
• Water Technologies and Companies: how technologies and companies are working to solve various problems related to water scarcity, quality, sanitation, etc.
Let's look at some recent data across the world:
The coronavirus pandemic has made access to water even more important. Could a nonprofit's simple technology provide a model for other cities? August 20, 20202 by Alan Grabinsky, Wall Street Journal.
o "A new rainwater-harvesting program is being installed in the city, led by Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, an environmental scientist. The city government had teamed up with local nonprofit Isla Urbana to install 100,000 of its rainwater-harvesting systems in the districts of Xochimilco and Iztapalapa.
o "Even before the current crisis, however, cities were struggling to provide running water to their inhabitants. According to the United Nations, Mexico City, Cairo, Bangalore, and seven other megalopolises will likely run out of water by 2030."
o "Mexico City's case is tragic because, unlike other cities, it is located on a region where water abounds," says Manuel Perló, an urbanist and sociologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico who specializes in water resources. The city receives more yearly rainfall than London. But the resource has been mismanaged, Mr. Perló says. Most of the city's water is pumped from dams up to 125 miles away, and 40% is lost through leaks in pipes and containers, according to Mr. Perló. In Mexico City, when it rains, it storms, but the water mixes with the sewage and cannot be used.
o "Since the late 1990s, places such as Australia and Santa Fe, N.M., have made it compulsory for new residences to have rainwater-harvesting systems. Brazil has installed 650,000 systems in the semiarid northern region, according to Johann Gnadlinger, a water-resource engineer who worked on the project."
o "In 2015, China launched its Sponge City initiative to install permeable pavement to absorb rainwater before it hits the sewers."
o "Today, 2% to 3% of the world's population collects rainwater to use for chores, but that could rise to 8% by 2030, according to Han Heijen, president of the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance, a Swiss nongovernmental organization."
o "The nonprofit's system costs $750 on average, and it takes about an afternoon to put in. It is made of PVC plastic, and no specialized knowledge is needed to install it, Isla Urbana says. By contrast, a standard rainwater harvesting system for a typical single-family home would generally cost between $8,000 and $10,000, according to the Texas Water Development Board, a state agency."
o Rain harvesting is nothing new. The Israelis, in my opinion, one of the three most advanced water nations in the world alongside with The Netherlands and Singapore, have been doing it for decades. I read a fascinating book written by Seth M. Sigel, Let There Be Water: Israel's Solution For a Water Starved World that discusses in length how the world could learn from Israel on the best water practices they have adopted for the last fifty years. This book is a must-read for anyone passionate about water.
"Unlike in the US, where water is a personal property right, in Israel all water ownership and usage is controlled by the government acting in the interest of the people as a whole." This could become a trend across the entire world, including US in the future where water becomes classified as what I call a Humodity, a resource so precious that it is treated as both a human right and a commodity, enabling water to have precedence over politics, human greed and exploitation of resources. I discuss this further in my Watergeddon blog. Israel knows what the water of possible future looks to become. And that is why despite having a capitalistic society, the country controls the water infrastructure because every water drop count in that part of the world.
"Shimon Tal, Israel's water commissioner from 2000 to 2006, provides a vivid illustration of how completely water is under the power of the state in Israel. "Of course, the government controls all of the water in the Sea of Galilee [Israel's largest freshwater lake] and of course, it controls all of the aquifers," he says. "But if you put a bucket on the roof of your house at the start of the rainy season, you own the house and you own the bucket, but the rain in that bucket is the property—at least in theory—of the government. Without a license to collect that rainwater, you are technically in violation of the Water Law. Once the raindrop hits the ground, or the bucket, it is owned by the public."
o Water Harvesting: there needs to be a massive deployment of rain harvesting technologies across the world, providing low-cost solutions such as the $750 system being deployed in Mexico City. I can't see Texans spending $8,000 to $10,000 for a rainwater collection system unless the federal or state government somehow subsidizes it.
Cracks and sinkholes are appearing alongside the waterways of Amsterdam. August 22, 20202 by Katja Brokke, CNN.
o "While the recent Covid-19 restrictions have relieved the Dutch capital from the more superficial blight of overtourism, it seems the city has a more pressing existential crisis. It's in danger of crumbling into the water it's built upon. And only a makeover of enormous proportions can save it."
o "But, over the years, it seems the municipality has neglected to keep an eye on some of its most venerable constructions. Now a significant number of its 1,600 bridges and 200 kilometers of canals need checking and, if necessary, replacing. While dangers have frequently been highlighted in recent times, it appears that before 2020, Amsterdam's chief recourse has been to hold its breath and hope for the best."
o "In January, local news channel AT5 highlighted five years of warnings from officials about the parlous state of the waterways that it said went largely unheeded by city authorities until this year."
o "The management of the quay walls and bridges has lagged behind in recent decades because it was not given the political priority it deserves and it is not a sexy topic," says Dijksma.
The common theme between these two articles is the mismanagement of water resources and the lack of continuous upgrading of the water infrastructure. From a political perspective, water is not sexy enough to get the votes. The mismanagement of water infrastructure is happening all over the world. Because water is considered a human right, a substantial amount of the local and national governments do not manage it properly.
Over the next ten years, the price of water in water-scarce areas of the world will skyrocket because humans do not place enough value on the most precious Humodity on the planet besides air.
We have no choice if we want to avoid Watergeddon in some parts of the world. The price of water must increase substantially enough to enable cities and governments to provide safe and clean water access by upgrading the water infrastructure. The Israel nation understands that price was the most effective inventive of all to incorporate water management practices to conserve water.
"As with taxpayers everywhere, the price rise didn't go over well. "People here understand that water is precious, but they still don't understand why they need to pay for it," says a senior official of the Israel Water Authority. "They see the rain and think that water is free. And they are right. That water is free. But safe, reliable, always available water is not free and cannot be free. Building infrastructure to get clean water to your home isn't free, and treating sewage so no one gets sick from it isn't free, and developing desalinated water plants to bring us through a drought isn't free."
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