In an interview with tech journalist David Pogue, he announced that he wants to start a crowdsource campaign on Kickstarter.com to raise $30 billion for a pipeline. Yes, that’s right, he want to build a pipeline from the water-rich Seattle area to water-deprived California.
Shatner explained in the interview: “How bad would it be to get a large, 4-foot pipeline, keep it above ground – because if it leaks, you’re irrigating. Bring it down here and fill one of our lakes! Lake Mead! I’ll give the money to a politician who says that he/she will build it.”
Authorities are skeptical. Washington Department of Ecology spokesman Dan Partridge commented: “Frankly we found it highly illogical, to put it in ‘Star Trek’ terms. This would involve so many obstacles, so many hurdles that it would have to overcome to become reality. Namely in case of water from Washington State, you have to acquire a number of rights to use that water and we would not be approving transfer of a huge volume of water out of our state at this point in time when we have a drought of our own to deal with.”
Shatner acknowledged that he might not be able to raise the $30 billion. However, due to his popularity, he was able to put the California’s water drought on the global map, putting politicians on the spot.
Quite successfully – California water officials presented a revised plan aimed at achieving Governor Jerry Brown’s mandate of reducing urban water use by 25 percent.
Shatner’s worries are legit; California is entering the fourth year of a devastating drought. Reservoirs are depleted, water rations are imposed and fresh water is imported from elsewhere.
However, instead of thinking big (as Shatner does) let’s think small. Repairing water leaks in buried pipes could already solve part of the problem. During a drought, water leakage is disastrous. A solution such as Curapipe’s TALR (Trenchless Automated Leakage Repair) that is a proven technology for water utilities to automatically detect, seal and cure typical leakage distribution network pipes without the need for digging up could just be the ticket! (BTW, Curapipe and TALR are already commercially deployed, so you will not find them on kickstarter.com).
(Image courtesy of Chris McKay | WireImaChris McKay | WireImage | Getty Imagesge | Getty Images)
One of the main issues covered in the report is the looming water crisis in China. Last year, the northern province of Liaoning suffered its worst drought in 63 years. Severe drought and scorching heat damaged over a million hectares of farmland in China’s Henan and Inner Mongolia provinces.
The main factors (ongoing climate change, China’s urbanization and the rise of the middle class) will lead to a huge water demand by 2030. The report warns: “Water may become a more significant source of contention than energy or minerals out to 2030.”
Water shortage will go hand-in-hand with food shortage. The global demand for food is expected to increase by more than 35% by 2030, triggering a worldwide need for more water. With agriculture and livestock account for 70% of water use, the future looks bleak. To sustain agriculture and livestock, current sustainable water supplies need to increase by more than 40%.
China especially is at a disadvantage since its food production is already suffering from water scarcity due to melting Himalayan glaciers, soil depletion, and land being used for urbanization. As a major wheat producer and the second-largest producer of corn in the world, the problem will not be limited to China alone. Once China will be forced to import to meet is domestic demand, prices in the world market will rise significantly.
The report offers several suggestions to preserve water and increase crop yields:
- GMO crops, such as drought resistant crops
- Precision agriculture, including “vertical” farming in high-rise structures to reduce water consumption
- Water technologies, including high-tech irrigation systems
Curapipe’s TALR is one of the water technologies that can already be used today.
(Image courtesy of EPA)
That’s why companies detecting and repairing leakage in networks are in high demand. On average, water utilities worldwide lose more than 30 percent of the potable water that they distribute in their networks.
McKinsey, a multinational management consulting firm, estimates that $688 billion is needed annually until 2031 alone to upgrade municipal infrastructures worldwide.
But also the attitude of water utilities need to change. Just look at the US, where one third of all States still charge a flat rate for water as low as $9.99 for both business or residential consumers. This is especially problematic when looking at the droughts on one hand and water leakage at the other.
Since water infrastructure is dating back to Victorian times, it is aging and prone to pinhole leaks and cracks. With limited budgets, water utilities looking at ways to prolong the lifespan of their infrastructure as an alternative to expensive replacement. Curapipe’s TALR is ideally suited for such bulk repair, since:
• It is trenchless (no dig) which ensures low disruption of environment and urban life
• It enables automated detection, sealing and permanent curing of leaks
• It is a low-cost alternative for pipe replacement/renewal
• It provides rapid bulk reduction of leakage
For more information, go to www.curapipe.com
The western United States has been plagued by droughts for the last 14 years. According to scientists, those so-called megadroughts could become more frequency in the South West and Central Plains later this century.
Those drought conditions will be long-lasting and more severe than those of the 12th and 13th centuries. That Medieval Climatic Anomaly was responsible for the demise of several civilizations including the Anasazi of the North American Southwest.
Toby Ault, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University, stated that he was honestly surprised at just how dry the future is likely to be. He said: ”I look at these future megadroughts like a slow moving natural disaster. We have to put megadroughts into the same category as other natural disasters that can be dealt with through risk management.”
It seems that the risks and dangers are even worse today due to the our larger population and our dependency on water resources.
To state Jason Smerdon, a co-author and climate scientist at the Earth Institute at Columbia University: “We are the first to do this kind of quantitative comparison between the projections and the distant past, and the story is a bit bleak. Even when selecting for the worst mega-drought-dominated period, the 21st century projections make those megadroughts seem like quaint walks through the Garden of Eden.”
Researchers such as David Stahle, professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas point out that the continuation of agricultural and water resource management as they are currently practiced in the Great Plains and southwestern United States are problematic.
If we look at the drought area, it spans California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma and other parts of the region. As a consequence, it impacts more than 64 million people.
Benjamin Cook of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory noted that the natural droughts like the 1930s Dust Bowl and the current drought in the Southwest have historically lasted maybe a decade or a little less. It looks like we are heading for a similar drought which could last at least 30 to 35 years.
If you want to read more, check out the AAAS online journal Science Advances.
(Photo courtesy of USDA Photo by Bob Nichols “Soybeans show the effect of ongoing drought in Navasota, Texas in 2013. The region is likely to become much drier in the next century)
The French newspaper L’Express recently published an interesting article. Quoting a recent report of ONEMA (the French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments), it mentioned that 20% of drinking water is lost due to leakage and lack of maintenance. As a result, one billion cubic meters of water is leaked annually. The main reason is the fact that local authorities do not invest enough in their water distribution networks.
The daily financial newspaper Les Echos also covered the report quoting as the main reason for the leakage: “The origin of the leaks is long known; the local authorities are at fault by not investing enough in the renewal of the pipes.” The blame is squarely put on lack of network maintenance. Renewal of water infrastructure was even down with 2% during 2009-2011.
According to Alain Grizeaud, the representative of pipeline companies, the situation is expected to worsen since revenues “decreased by 9% to 10% this year, after a decline of 4% last year.”
Recognizing the problem, the Water Utility Mediterranean Rhône Corsica decided to invest € 20 million to reduce leaks in potable water systems. According to the water utility, “reducing leakage in drinking water systems is an absolute priority”. It lost one liter in five liters of treated water in 2011 due to leakage.
For water utilities looking for an alternative for renewal, Curapipe’s TALR (Trenchless Automated Leakage Repair) is an excellent alternative since it automatically detects, seals and cures typical leakage distribution network pipes without the need for digging up streets.
(Image courtesy of Onema)
In Leeds, a team of Yorkshire Water does its best to ensure that their consumers enjoy ongoing supply of potable water. That’s why the water utility dispensed an expert team to detect leakage. Not without reason: in 2013, there were a reported 1,000 identified leaks in Leeds alone.
The swat team will be equipped with an arsenal of hi-tech detection gadgets. Funny enough, it’s the good old “listening stick” that is still considered to be the most liable way to identify the source of a leak. Introduced 150 years ago, the listening stick enables identifying a leak by hearing it up to 500 meters away.
The reliable 1.5m-long devices have an earpiece on one end and the inspector places the other onto a stop tap or valve to listen out for the constant noise generated by water escaping from a pipe. Based on sound, the experts at Yorkshire Water can even tell what type of leak it is – a high-pitched noise represents a small leak, while a low sound could be a larger burst or split.
Tony O’Shea, Yorkshire Water’s Leakage and Metering Manager, said: “Despite all the clever pieces of kit that have come along in recent years, 99 per cent of leaks will be found with the help of a listening stick. While we’ve got the experts and devices in place to help us deal with bursts when they do come along, we’d still like to ask all of our customers across Leeds to make sure they’re winter ready by following our tips.”
Although Yorkshire Water had to handle more than 6,000 bursts or leaks during the winter of 2013 alone, there is a better way to address the problem.
Curapipe has introduced a whole new way of detecting and repairing leaks that abolishing the need for listening sticks or any other detection technology. TALR (Trenchless Automated Leakage Repair) is a proven technology that water utilities use to automatically detect, seal and cure typical leakage distribution network pipes without the need for digging up streets.
To learn more, visit www.curapipe.com
(Image courtesy of Yorkshire Water)
As Curapipe System, we welcome and applaud any initiative to save precious potable water.
That’s why we were impressed with designer Arturo Vittori who came up with a solution to address the Ethiopian water shortage.
Mr. Vittori wanted to offer an alternative to the traditional digging of wells in Ethiopia which is often (too) expensive. Moreover, after a well is dug, pumps must be installed and maintained which means dependence on electricity.
When looking for an alternative, he got inspiration from nature. The giant Warka tree is a local fig tree that features a gravity-defying dome. Based on this design, he developed water towers of close to 30 feet high that can collect condensation and rain water which translates to more than 25 gallons of potable water per day.
Vittori explained: “To make people independent, especially in such a rural context it’s synonymous of a sustainable project and guaranties the longevity. Using natural fibers helps the tower to be integrated with the landscape both visually with the natural context as well as with local traditional techniques.”
Since we as Curapipe System are all about saving potable water by fixing leakage in underground water mains, we know how important drinking water is to individuals around the world. For areas without any water infrastructure, Vittori’s invention could be a real lifesaver.
(Image courtesy of Vittori Lab)