Re: Science and Unemployment...

Ben Newsam (
Sat, 01 Jul 95 23:28:01 GMT "Will Ware" writes:

> I don't follow the world of farming, but I hadn't heard anything
> about this. Are you sure? It would seem to me that agricultural
> activities would be pretty insignificant in the overall cycle of
> evaporation and rainfall, and all the other things water does
> naturally. Unless the idea is that we are exporting significant
> quantities of water along with the vegetables we export, but isn't
> most of the water in the atmosphere pretty well scrambled geographically
> after a few days? I.e. you would think the water would find its way
> back home.
> I guess there could still be trouble if the rate of rainfall were
> less than the rate of water loss due to evaporation added to losses
> due to export. Hmm.
> It occurs to me that if you want to raise the water table in a region,
> but you don't have an immediate need for drinking water or irrigation,
> it's probably OK just to import large quantities of seawater and let
> it seep into the ground without desalinating it. It would probably
> desalinate just by being filtered thru the soil, and the effect would
> probably be localized to the area where the water was being dumped
> into the ground. Relatively small areas could be set aside for this
> purpose, leaving the rest of the region arable.

I'm afraid you're being very naive. The entire Western world is heading for a
massive water crisis within the next 20 years or so. Water tables are
dropping, partly from extraction for irrigation, and partly because of
increased demands for "good" drainage. Consider a city like Phoenix, Arizona:
how long can it continue to grow before it uses the entire flow of all local
rivers *and* the river Colorado? Everyone wants green lawns.

In the UK (it rains more here than in Arizona), two weeks without rain is
enough to cause supplies of water to be intermittent, and we have a vast
and complex infrastucture for the entrapment and distribution of water.

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