Researchers are telling the western U.S. to prepare for water shortages. Does that mean fewer golf courses in Phoenix? Shorter showers in Vegas casino-hotels? Oh no, the world will grind to a halt, like China after a snowstorm.
The scientists say there'll be more rain, less snow in western winters. That means less summer run-off. And that will diminish surface water supplies from rivers. One conclusion: major changes will be needed in western water supply systems. Far more storage capacity will be needed. Put roofs on those resevoirs in arid places. Maybe cover them with solar panels. Or maybe we ask those desert dwellers to move to the rainy side of Hawaii...just kidding.
This isn't the first public warning on water supply. Last fall the federal government warned of pending water shortages in a majority of states in the U.S.
What this latest paper doesn't mention but we already know: moving water around is a major energy sump. The more water has to pumped and processed and recycled, the more energy is used. This all bodes well for those green tech companies already into the recycling or water for human and industrial consumption.
Here are some water-wise ideas we've blogged in the past: Irrigation rationalization. Data Center cooling. Why clean water is major opening for green tech companies.
Without serious technology and purification, only 2% of the world's water supply is estimated to be fit for human consumption. And I can't resist reminding everybody of nuclear power plants and their need for water...even if it can be recycled.