The World Is On Fire and In Extreme Drought: When And Where WIll The Future Water Wars Be Fought?

Title says it all. I have to imagine with ever increasing populations of people worldwide coupled with climate change driven water extremes that water scarcity will create conflicts and wars. And probably already has.

In the case of say, the USA, what does the west do? Move inward and flee the wildfires? The irrigation-based water rights treaties or whatever between states like CA, NM, NV and AZ are being invoked as a series of “who gets water instead of whom”, a system I do not fully understand.

The situation seems dire to me.

Invest in reusing waste water. It will require huge investments though. I guess desalination will become more attractive on the coasts.

Specific Irrigation is going to have to become the norm in states short on water. I know California has been extremely wasteful in farming practices.

Desalination needs to be looked at but a proper reclaiming of waste water would actually be better.

Saving water by moving away from grass lawns in places that are actually semi-arid would be an easy answer to help. Especially ending the odd concept of lawn sprinkler systems where water is getting scarce.

Reducing chemical use in farming will make reclaiming water used in farming easier.

Desalination has a lot of drawbacks. One is that it is energy intensive and if we do go this route, it really needs to powered by carbon neutral energy sources.

Chemical use in farming is one of the keys to minimizing tillage, which in turn is key to farming in semi-arid conditions without causing a recurrence of the Dust Bowl.

I assume the US and other wealthy countries will work on significantly cheaper water desalination. This would require a lot of pipelines to ship water around the country.

I have seen people talking about piping water from the Great Lakes to other places in the US, which would be logistically a HUGE problem/challenge. And lilely not sustainable in the end.

That is borderline crazy. The Great Lakes is not an unlimited supply.
The water crisis needs methods that reduce use and reuse.

Yemen was the start of the water wars, according to some.

Egypt and Ethiopia being at odds over a dam is worrisome.

North and South Africa are already feeling the squeeze. I imagine they are not the only African countries at risk but I am no expert.

In theory, Rich countries could move all farming “indoors” and use a fraction of the water. Israel was a pioneer in this domain I believe. Realistically, we don’t have the political stomach for what that kind of investment would mean. Taxes would have to go up, people would have to be convinced it’s in their best interest to do so.

We need a single world government to make planet-wide decisions. All people want the same basic thing: “not to live in horrible conditions”. I wish the mongol empire had expanded worldwide and countries never splintered again. The Khan or President would’ve saved us in the 70s, when the science had spoken.

“We need a single world government to make planet-wide decisions. All people want the same basic thing: “not to live in horrible conditions”. I wish the mongol empire had expanded worldwide and countries never splintered again. The Khan or President would’ve saved us in the 70s, when the science had spoken.”

I can’t figure out how to multiquote anymore, or even to quote someone properly, but do you really believe this? Conceptually, the “One World Government” is super divisive, and many people (not me) believe a LOT of crazy theroies about what that implies (rise of the Antichrist, etc). That also said, a lot of people would prefer to keep their governance localized whom already distrust the federal government.

Go to war with Arizona (which CA briefly did a couple of times). Arizona may have to roof over the Central Arizona Project to prevent evaporation. Probably crack down on private swimming pools. Same for golf courses.

Water ‘rights’ may soon be redefined.

I always kinda thought that if I lived anywhere in AZ, it would be Flagstaff because it seemed uniquely positioned to deal with water crises but it’s affecting them too. And I am not sure about politics of the people there but if it’s populated by Trump acolytes I’d likely reconsider.

It’s Trump Central. Should be fun to watch.

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As a lifelong resident of a state surrounded by 20% of the world’s supply of surface freshwater, I have no plans to move out of Michigan, and I hope our politicians are able to stop any attempts to reroute it in the future. It’s not just about drinking water, it’s about an entire ecosystem.

No, I’m not really serious. They killed like 10% of the population at the time. 40 million is the estimate I found. I just mention them because they came closest to world unification and I really think we need that, decades ago.

We’ve been losing the war on fossil fuels for far too long, and in far too many ways to hope we can accomplish it without a single, empowered world government.

And not likely to be taken at all kindly by people living in the Great Lakes watershed. Which includes a lot of humans, a lot of other species, and multiple nations.

I know there are some industries, such as semiconductor foundries, that are able to achieve near-100% rates of water recycling - that is, they just use the same water over and over again (but scrubbing it of the dirty stuff each time it passes through the cycle.) How hard would it be to use the same approach, but just for an entire city instead? (i.e., give Phoenix a trillion gallons of water and have it all within a giant enclosed system)

I don’t think you could get anywhere close to 100% efficiency (i.e., a truly closed system), due to evaporation, if nothing else.

But, we certainly could do a lot better through things like greywater reuse, rather than using fresh water for everything, and sending all “used water” into the same sewage system.

Or, failing that, stillsuits, like in Dune.

Nor are the Great Lakes an original source of fresh water. The water in the lakes came from somewhere further upstream.

If you’re going to divert water into South Dakota, for example, it makes more sense to divert that water from the Saint Louis River in Wisconsin rather than have it flow east into Lake Superior and then send it back west.

Water management in California has a long, sordid history. There are just too many hands on the water and not enough to go around. Agriculture uses the lion’s share of water out here - thirsty crops like almonds and pistachios are big money. Thing it, much of the crop is exported overseas for large profits. It’s not like all farmers are growing food for our tables. One way to trim water use is to just buy-out some of the almond and pistachio orchards and remove them (or offer them land in a climate that can sustain such crops). Much cheaper than building an ever expanding water delivery system dependent on a shrinking supply. And way better than corporate welfare of building dams so they can have cheap water to grow export crops - socializing the risk and cost while privatizing the gain and benefit.

As for the forest fires, that is complex and partially dependent on climate change. Another big factor is 100 years of fire suppression has meant the forests are unhealthy and clogged with trees, as nonsensical as that sounds. However, there are not enough resources to properly manage the forest as it needs, and any proposals to prescribe-burn year-round is met with howls from those that don’t want to see and breath smoke all the time.