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July 13, 2013

For doomers the answer is always to kill people or prevent people from being born

Oxford University computational scientist Steven Emmott (and author of the book Ten Billion) thinks we are all doomed and tries to confuse others with weird metrics that are not in context.

Steve talks about water usage.
He does not talk about getting twice as efficient with water to get all of the agriculture and industrial and home uses we need.
He talks about killing or restricting the population in half.
Doomers do not go to water saving solutions they go to killing people.

Like the Far Side book of horse medicine where the answer is always shoot the horse. For doomers the answer is always to kill people

Yet even shooting people would not work. There is the examples of world war one and world war two where tens of millions were shot and killed and yet world population still went up.

Doomers talk about millions starving in Africa and yet Africa's populations goes up.

The doomer preferred solution of getting rid of people does not work for the purpose that they want. Even their doomsday fantasy of struggling humans killing each other and keeping population low does not work.

Nextbigfuture has previously done a detailed analysis of why Limits to Growth is wrong and how these spreadsheets of doom are wrong.

Hidden Water

It takes around 3,000 liters of water to produce a burger. In 2012 around five billion burgers were consumed in the UK alone. That's 15 trillion liters of water – on burgers. Just in the UK. Something like 14 billion burgers were consumed in the United States in 2012. That's around 42 trillion liters of water.

So that seems like a lot. How much water do we have ? The US Geological survey explains

1,386,000,000 cubic kilometers (km3). Each cubic kilometer is a trillion liters of water.

The Earth's liquid fresh water in groundwater, swamp water, rivers, and lakes. The volume is 10,633,450 km3.
68% of that water is ice.


How is the water used ?

The world uses freshwater:
• about 70 percent for irrigation
• about 20 percent for industry
• about 10 percent for domestic use



When there were six billion people, we were using 54 percent of all the accessible freshwater contained in rivers, lakes and underground aquifers.

Precision Agriculture

Gathering plant and soil water status information through GPS, a lightbar system, drone copter, sensors, and other tools has been shown to provide the information to allow for variable irrigation systems that provide the right amount of water when crops need it. Yield is boosted and water is saved.

Third-generation sensor suite, which can monitor plant water status by observing canopy temperature, wind speed, relative humidity, and PAR, is under development to recommend when and how much to irrigate.

Preliminary tests suggest that one node per one-third acre (50 trees) could be economically feasible with a yield increase of about 15 percent. One node per acre (150 trees) could be feasible with a 5 percent yield increase at the costs of current advanced technologies.

The average water savings by precision irrigation were 10 to 15 per cent compared to conventional irrigation practices, and could be as high as 50 per cent, depending on the efficiency of the previous irrigation management regime. Additional reported benefits include: increased harvestable area; decreased incidence of disease; and reduced leaching or risk of leaching nitrates.

A lot of Water Management Technology

A canadian report from 2013 on water management

Waste water can be lightly processed and used for about 60% of the water needed for agriculture.

There is plenty of wasted water and not important water usage that can be constrained.

There is water flushing of diary cow farms which uses 150 gallons of water per day per cow but there are alternative approach that uses 5 to 10 gallons of water per day per cow.

Economics

If there was a large water problem then the cost of water would go up and the cost of high water usage agriculture then the cost of beef would go up and demand would go down. Yet ground beef costs about $2 per pound. The food problem is such that there are $8 and 25 all you can eat buffets all over north america. There is also tens of billions of gallons of biofuel and 4 times that amount of water is used to produce it.




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