scarcity is the number one resource problem in the world today,
according to the United Nations and other organizations concerned
with international issues. Almost half of humanity now live in water
Many countries now use more than 40% of their total renewable water
supply. Since water availability can vary widely from region to
region inside a country, even when there is surplus water in one
region, there can be severe scarcity in another.
Moreover, in many regions, people are pumping out underground water
that is not replaced by rainfall. This "mining" of fossil water
depletes the aquifer, causing wells to dry up and the ground to
crack and settle. Much of the American Southwest has been over-pumped,
including large parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico,
as well as parts of the High Plains region. Many other regions of
the world are being over-pumped, including the Mid-East, Mexico,
parts of China and Africa and so on. In a few years, most of these
aquifers will cease to yield water, precipitating a crisis in supply.
The available options to avert future water supply crises are limited.
Desalination is prohibitively expensive and consumes enormous amounts
of costly and scarce oil and gas fuels. The current cost of desalination
is approximately $6.00 per 1000 gallons and is only practical for
Mid-East countries with ample amounts of low cost oil and gas. Transport
of water in tankers is too expensive to be practical for long distances,
while towing of icebergs to arid regions does not appear feasible.
As a result, pipelines appear to be the only practical option for
the long distance transport of water. However, pipelines have limitations.
They are very expensive, require large amounts of pumping power,
and are not suited to hilly and rolling terrains.