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Water Shortages, Why are They Happening at an Increasing Pace - My Ongoing Thesis

Kumar Thangudu
The food here is awful, the view is amazing - a UNESCO world heritage site. I grabbed my water for 10 minutes and headed back to my laptop. - Spain has a severe water shortage unlikely to be fixed anytime soon. I haven't had much time to write as I've been deep on some optimization problems for work.

TLDR: Water shortages are proliferating because soil depletion accelerates under a carbon minimization regime and this impact is felt across soil fertility and more.

My thoughts will appear in disarray because I'll do my best to link geopolitics, with chemistry, with energy grids and for all practical purposes, my thoughts are in a disarray.
This is going to feel a bit like reading two Kurt Vonnegut books simultaneously, but I demand that I deliver blog posts on some reasonable schedule, even if the formatting be damned.

Water is complex my friends.

I see nothing positive about future scarcities and their impacts on natural gas+coal consumption, security, and infrastructure.

Healthy soil absorbs more water, tilled soil does not.

Here's a good video on tilled vs. non tilled soil.

When you proliferate renewables, you generate more air, water, and soil pollution per kilowatt hour and you consume more water from farm to fork. This has been a core part of my thesis.

I monitor the natural gas markets quarterly as you all know and intensely from 2016-2019.

It takes 10-14 kwh to desalinate 1000 gallons of water and this reality puts us in an aggressive doom loop of a scenario primarily because for every 1 unit of desalinated water your produce, you produce 4 units of briny water.

I also want to reiterate - Israel has done nothing notable or novel or groundbreakingly phenomenal on this front, I've been swatting and dismissing desalination innovations out of Israel for over a decade. The problem is unsolved on any reasonable economic evaluation. 

Desalination problems contribute to the doom loop whereby mankind must spend more to purify water as time goes on. 

Areas of the world to watch right now that will become chronic problems in <48-96 months. 
  • Colorado River System - supplies 70M Americans west of San Antonio with water. It seemes unlikely they'll come to a consensus on how to manage the water.  - I write about this here. It provides a good institutional fodder for never buying anything for the long term west of San Antonio in the USA. The rate of mismanagement exceeds the rate of sustainability of aquifer and river resources. 
  • I wage war on the weak STEM folks that have gotten to allocate all the pension money. Planet earth will ignore its chemical, petroleum, and polymer engineers at its own peril.
There will be those renewables ayatollahs that will claim renewables use less water, but my staunch backlash is that they actually use more water per kwh if you look at how those kilowatt hours are created from farm to fork, you analyze the geological-industrial-chemical footprint, and the manner in which the energy grid stomachs stress(how we phase the voltage with the grid, energy generators, etc...).

On a final note....

I sometimes have a hunch on materials because it's far too big of a market to understand all of it, but certainly when history doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes.

Will our desire for viable construction sands drive an acute squeeze on water supplies globally?

One of my "gut" hunches that's worth digging into when I get the time is that the sand shortage coming to all construction processes will be acutely felt and our hunt for it will be like sacrificing altitude to gain air speed. It is our "spice" in a sense and we can only get the ideal modalities of high-demand salt by eroding our soils and salinating our waters.

This is probably the least well structured of my blog posts and I realize it comes out like a cacophony of thoughts and random evidence.

As always if you want to discuss these things, feel free to ping me via twitter or holler via signal.