the invisible hand of the marketplace will reveal to us a replacement for water
Duke Leto demonstrates his slavish devotion to free market values.
Reuters, via ENN:
Climate change could diminish North American water supplies and trigger disputes between the United States and Canada over water reserves already stressed by industry and agriculture, U.N. experts said Wednesday.
More heat waves like those that killed more than 100 people in the United States in 2006, storms like the killer hurricanes that struck the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 and wildfires are likely in North America as temperatures rise, according to a new report that provided regional details on a U.N. climate panel study on global warming issued in Brussels on April 6.
Severe weather already costs North America tens of billions of dollars annually in productivity and damaged property, and those costs are expected to rise, the U.N. report said.
The broadest effects of climate change will be water problems across the entire continent -- including more frequent droughts, urban flooding and a scramble for water from the Great Lakes, which border both the United States and Canada.
Droughts would also occur more often in the U.S. Midwest and Southwest as warmer temperatures evaporate soil moisture.
Those droughts could diminish underground supplies like the Edwards Aquifer in Texas, which supplies 2 million people with water, by up to 40 percent, and cut levels of the Ogallala aquifer which underlies eight U.S. states, the report said.
During droughts like the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, U.S. farmers pumped water from underground aquifers to save their fields through irrigation. "Much of that water is now gone," said MacCracken. "We've used up our savings bank."
Tight underground water supplies could kick off a scramble for large above-ground supplies in the Great Lakes, the report said. Spats have already occurred over diversion of the lakes' water for distant cities and farms, while calls have increased for channeling water to the Mississippi River to supply U.S. cities during hot summers.
Problems are also expected to intensify as warmer temperatures lower water levels through evaporation. "Climate change will exacerbate these issues and create new challenges for binational cooperation," the report said.
It's easy enough to say that this could just be a problem of reallocating priorities and better conservation - easy enough - but the intersection of "peak water" with continued sprawl in the U.S. and the megacity phenomenon may be far more worrisome than the prospect of peak oil: see, water and concrete really doesn't mix, it's not really part of the water cycle, and as our parking lots and highways roll out and out, we lose that much more water.
Our use of fossil fuels is unprecedented in history, but mankind's always needed water.