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James Boyd

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realities surrounding an aim for population sustainability in tandem with controlled, carbon neutral powered desalination of the oceans?

The principle being that ice fresh water melts at the top of the water table. If salt water is taken out and the salt balance is re-added in the correct parts / 1000 to the ocean at the ocean sources be they river estuaries or glaciers could we sustain a necessary salt water equilibrium. All fresh water taken from desalination could be allocated for the cooling within 'closed industrial systems' and the water we currently collect for these uses used exclusively for drinking along with our present use of drinking water. Could we therefore answer our demands while maintaining a sustainable fresh water rain cycle? Global water resources controlled by an apolitical supranational institution with global stakeholders. Water projects would be measured and assigned according to feasibility and necessity, with the mission to maintain our existing biodiversity and a sustainable global ecosystem. If desalinated drinking water was made available to populations, for example in sub-Saharan Africa, as in the UAE for example, what would be the impact on the present balance of the water cycle and global ecosystem?

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  • Nov 9 2011: Your question, to be answered fully, would require significant study but perhaps what follows might open up the subject a bit. First, desalinization of sea water on a commercial scale is expensive, requires energy and would continue to require that so the answer is yes but no as there are less expensive solutions. Perhaps the simplest is simply to capture the outflow of rivers to the world's oceans. While I can't (again without study) estimate the negative bio-diversity effects to the oceans, given it was not a complete shut down of fresh water into the sea, there would be a reduction of pesticides and other chemicals which cause dead zones (ie....the mouth of the Mississippi) and in the case of the Mississippi river and New Orleans a reduction of eroding coast lines (positive effects) The question of where that water would go is relatively simple. It is needed in growing populations centers and farming areas and, I suspect, would have a farther reaching effect with absorption into existing aquifers over time. The question of the political will for a feat like this unlikely now but probable downstream (no pun intended). As for closed loop systems that has significant merit at a micro level. At an industrial level cost becomes the issue. With respect to the global ecosystem, and using sub-Saharan Africa as an example (which currently has one of the highest birth rates in the world) there is no question that the economic impact would be significant, and, given the nature of forests, jungles and woodlands there is some increased probability of actually creating rainfall. The economic impact, in theory, would be significantly increased population growth initially, hopefully followed by better education and reduced family size. You can extract significant data from the Internet on the latter subjects. Hope this helps....