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Intel Sucks Up Water Amid Drought In China

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the nor-any-drop-to-drink dept.

Earth 386

An anonymous reader sends along a Bloomberg piece on Intel and the coming water wars. "Intel is going head-to-head with businesses like Coca-Cola to swallow up scarce water resources in the developing world. According a 2009 report ... 2.4 billion of the world's population lives in 'water-stressed' countries such as China and India. Chip fabrication plants in those countries, as well factories such as the soft drink giant's bottling plants, are swallowing up scarce resources needed by the 1.6 billion people who rely on water for farming. ... Li Haifeng, vice president of sewage treatment company Beijing Enterprises Water Group, told Bloomberg, 'Wars may start over the scarcity of water.' China's 1.33 billion citizens each have 2,117 cubic meters of water available to them per year.... In the US, consumers can count on as much as 9,943 cubic meters."

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386 comments

Whats the big deal (2, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390380)

What's the big deal it's not like you need water to live...

Re:Whats the big deal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390426)

it's not like we need the chinese to live.

Slaves are to be exploited

Re:Whats the big deal (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390530)

Can't they just drink Coke instead?

Re:Whats the big deal (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390584)

It's got what plants crave, electrolytes!

Re:Whats the big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390638)

Can't they just drink Coke instead?

Nothing like boiling noodles or rice in Coca-cola. Mmmmm... fructose.

Capitalism !! (0, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390398)

Its made of love ! It doesnt matter if you die, as long as you get profits. wait - those who get the profits dont generally die. but hey !

que agitated, angry downmodding from old soils remnant of reagan era and new free market zealots in 3,2, 1 ....

Re:Capitalism !! (0, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390454)

So lets see here, your trying to prove a point against capitalism in China which is... Communist. Yeah, its not "true" communism but its sure not pure capitalism.

Next thing you know we're going to be blaming Apple for Microsoft security problems and PowerPC for flaws in x86.

Re:Capitalism !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390516)

Yeah, its not "true" communism but its sure not pure capitalism.

Just like you are no longer a pure douche.

Re:Capitalism !! (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390536)

You know what determines your worth in China? Capital.

Re:Capitalism !! (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390706)

Nope. More like CPC connections, which then enable you to get capital. The PRC is possibly a hybrid system rather than Communism, but it sure as hell isn't capitalist.

Re:Capitalism !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390742)

Nope. More like CPC connections, which then enable you to get capital.

no, you are wrong, capital is enough, since you can buy connexions with it...

Re:Capitalism !! (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390772)

Those Intel factories are built with capital from capitalist investors. That's the most basic definition of capitalism.

Seriously, read Marx. It's worth the time.

Re:Capitalism !! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390792)

You can have "connections" only if you (or your family, etc.) are worth anything for people in position to keep connections with you. Simply by membership in the Party you can, at best, be a lowly clerk.

Re:Capitalism !! (3, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390732)

So lets see here, your trying to prove a point against capitalism in China which is... Communist. Yeah, its not "true" communism but its sure not pure capitalism.

This particular case is pure capitalism: whoever pays more, gets a larger share of a particular resources, period.

When you start worrying about how some people will just die without it, it's not capitalism anymore. It's the beginning of a welfare state.

soooooooooo (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390842)

that means, welfare state is bad, and we should just let people die, because those with bigger money paid and bought the resources ?

Re:Capitalism !! (3, Insightful)

mederbil (1756400) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390484)

"Water flows uphill towards money." -Unknown

Although I believe in captialism, this is just wrong. Intel has the money that they can afford to delsalinate water. Many of their employees are based in India and China, and this is incredibly unfair that they have to make their own employees and those who can't afford water, suffer. If they were efficient, they could probably incorporate a desalination plant and keep a server farm there cooled by water from a salt ocean and then desalinate it.

Capitalism has taken a lot of water in the largest aquifer in Peru. The Bush family actually own a large section of land on their aquifer and may consider selling it if oil doesn't work out. (Source: Blue Gold, documentary).

Re:Capitalism !! (5, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390546)

Intel has the money that they can afford to delsalinate water.

But their stockholders have heard that that would lower the profits. Guess what happens next.

Re:Capitalism !! (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390570)

Isn't the point of governments to provide for their citizens according to Communism?

If you are going to establish a dictatorship with nearly unlimited power (like the Chinese system) shouldn't it be that government that provides from its citizens? Considering they don't allow for any civil freedoms, very limited economic freedoms, and a government who "owns" your children (via conscription) one would think the least they could do is provide enough water for its citizens.

If you have a limited government, the government should provide against force and fraud, nothing more. If you have a communist, socialist or unlimited government, the government should without a doubt provide for food, water and shelter for its citizens if they are unable to get it.

Re:Capitalism !! (2, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390650)

If you are going to establish a dictatorship with nearly unlimited power (like the Chinese system) shouldn't it be that government that provides from its citizens?

+1 idealism, -5 naivety.

Do you really think the party hacks give a damn about mud farmers in the distant provinces? All they care about is adding another 0 on the end of their bank balance.

Re:Capitalism !! (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390666)

Isn't the point of governments to provide for their citizens according to Communism?

That's only the second half of, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
Historically, communist governments have put plenty of emphasis on the first part, too.

Re:Capitalism !! (5, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390682)

Yep, this is exactly the kind of situation where you'd expect communism to work, and this is the situation where in real life it fails. In theory the government should reserve water for its citizens. In practice, the people who are actually in charge have more incentive to make tons of money from Intel and Coke than to protect the lives of nearly-worthless workers.

Re:Capitalism !! (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390572)

Although I believe in captialism, this is just wrong.

Expecting corporations (or, often, people) to do the 'right' or 'moral' thing, at a net loss to themselves, is a losing battle. The evidence is everywhere. Decry this as the harbinger of our society's doom if you must, but don't waste time trying to kid yourself that it's not the case.

Legislate in such a way that it's cheaper for Intel to desalinate ocean water on site and they'll start doing so (or possibly move to a different jurisdiction, if that turns out cheaper). Simple.

Re:Capitalism !! (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390754)

It's not a problem yet (at least, not any more than water always has been a problem). In India, the article mentions, they won't exhaust their water supply until 2050. The article mentions Intel, but it isn't their job to do water allocation; that's the job of the government. Intel should ask for the water they want, and the government should decide whether they have enough or not. The primary water fight, as in many places, is between farmers and city-dwellers, and it's been going on for centuries.

In the western US a decade or so ago, there was a drought, and they had to post armed guards on some of the dams to keep the farmers from taking the water. In the fight between crops dying of thirst and people dying of thirst, the people obviously win, but it really sucks if you just planted an orchard of trees and now they are going to die. Even farther back, as early as the 1800s, there were huge water fights [wikipedia.org] in the western US. Control of water supply is serious. Incidentally, California is predicted to exhaust our water supply by the mid 2030s, so this isn't just in India.

The reason the article mentions that wars may be fought over water (other than they already have been fought over water) is because a number of rivers start in the Himalayas, and China is thinking of diverting water from a river that ends up in India. So who 'owns' the river? Eventually it will probably be settled that each side gets a certain percentage of the water coming from the river, but there is a reason India is interested in building up its army. Water is more important than oil.

Re:Capitalism !! (0, Troll)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390630)

You're right, socialist central planning on the other hand is definitely [wikipedia.org] made [wikipedia.org] of love [wikipedia.org] because it places human [wikipedia.org] rights [amnestyusa.org] ahead [wikipedia.org] of profits [wikipedia.org]. Right?

Re:Capitalism !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390708)

none of those links have anything to do with socialism. maybe you should get back to ranting about how obama is a muslim or something equally stupid.

Re:Capitalism !! (1, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390748)

They have everything to do with socialism:

Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: socialism

1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

Re:Capitalism !! (1, Troll)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390838)

No all these links have anything to do with communism or socialism, because all these dictatorships and regimes were simply not understanding and properly instituting communism and socialism.

All those communist parties, communist leaders, communist activists, communist revolutions, communist manifestos, all of them misunderstood Communism and misinterpreted it, no, abused it.

National Socialists were not socialists, the Communist Party of the Union of Socialistic Soviet Republic had nothing to do with either Communism and Socialism.

Just claim "If people die, it's not Communism." and then plug your ears and eyes.

Thousands of people who commit bombings after reading the Quran and praying to Allah day and night have nothing to do with Islam. Yeah. Just like re-education camps, forced labor, mass famine, totalitarian brainwashing and the prison formerly known as North Korea have nothing to do with Communism. It's all just a major misunderstanding. The next, the real Communism, will be so much better than the last one, really.

Mooooorooooon (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390858)

what you linked are not socialist 'planning' they are COMMUNIST plans. idiot. first, learn the terms first. dont come up with average american ignorance on concepts.

let me give you some countries which had predominantly socialist governments in the last 60 years of their existence :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finland [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway [wikipedia.org]

Water is not scarsce, capitalism will find a way (1, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390636)

Water is not so scarce at all. It's just too expensive in some areas to waste in low-profit businesses like subsistence agriculture.

Meanwhile, the Amazon river [wikipedia.org] is dumping 219000 tons of fresh water into the ocean per second.

When water really starts to become scarce, but long before the water wars start, Intel and Coca-Cola will have relocated their plants from China to Brazil.

Re:Capitalism !! (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390716)

... those who get the profits dont generally die ...

Be more optimistic about that — a good heuristic for more optimism is to consider this phase of the evolutionary process, mankind being the ultimate high end, a(n epic) failure (hints to that may be seen in the overall ecological and economical situation).

So there might be a good chance that evolution may recover from an earlier rerun point, without those (bastards) who have been responsible.

CC.

Because Great Leader Stalin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390862)

.. is able to produce microchips with his bare hands, molded from clay!

In Soviet Russia, you get plenty of microchips AND water for everyone!

And 5g iPhones that lasted 5 years of submergence in cow poo because there would be no planned obsolence! The cure for cancer would have been publicized long ago rather than kept secret by the drug companies! All clothes would be made of environmentally friendly hemp, soft as silk, lasting for 50 years of use!

No shortages! No tradeoffs! No difficult choices! If we don't have something, it is because we do not WANT it!

People, people everywhere (3, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390404)

You know you are truly fucked in terms of population density when technically renewable and basically unlimited resources like water start to be discussed as possible causes of war... Interesting times ahead, guys.

Re:People, people everywhere (5, Insightful)

Mr Pippin (659094) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390424)

"drinkable" water has been a major issue in every age of history, that I'm aware of. It's not a lack of water, but water suitable for human consumption and/or use in many cases.

Re:People, people everywhere (1, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390444)

True, but today we have the technology to make any water source drinkable - from cleaning up rivers to desalinating sea water. Guys, you got gardens blooming in the middle of the Nevada desert. And still the problem comes up - that's the scary bit.

Re:People, people everywhere (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390492)

Well, that's because when it's not a problem and no one cares about it and water is abundant, people find interesting things to do with it, like put gardens in the middle of the Nevada desert.

Re:People, people everywhere (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390662)

True, but today we have the technology to make any water source drinkable - from cleaning up rivers to desalinating sea water. Guys, you got gardens blooming in the middle of the Nevada desert. And still the problem comes up - that's the scary bit.

And partially due to that, water rationing during various summer months since that water supply is also the same one used for other areas that need it for more important things... like drinking the water instead of trying to make a desert look like an oasis.

California depends on snow that accumulates in the Sierra Nevada for much of its water needs. The spring thaw that melts the snowpack is relied on to replenish reservoirs that are vital to millions of people.

The region also takes water from the Colorado River, which runs east of California.

So... the problem isn't limited to China... we experience it here as well. In California, Nevada, and New York City (and numerous other areas). Some of the few areas that do not run into this problem are eastern Long Island where the water comes from deep aquifer wells. Many areas do not have that ability/advantage.

Regardless, as "immoral" as it is for Intel to continue such practices, it seems to be entirely with the blessing of the Chinese government. Intel alone is not to blame. The Chinese government is more than capable of restricting such practices (probably more so than our own government), but does not.

Re:People, people everywhere (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390490)

This isn't 900 AD, we have desalination that is efficient, we've got the 5th largest city in the US in the middle of a desert (Phoenix), water pipes to nearly anywhere in the country you want, islands that can survive purely on ocean water, etc.

Re:People, people everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390634)

THIS.

We have people going on about "oh we have all those cool things to make pure water", but you never see anybody doing it unless they really need to.
It is the most retarded thing ever.
A company like cola, Intel and the like could pretty easily build a huge mirror array for heat / power to get as much damn water as they wanted from the ocean, but nooo, that is too much of a large investment in a short time for these companies.

Re:People, people everywhere (4, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390644)

And in the process you're nearly the most wasteful place on Earth [wikipedia.org], claiming almost 3 times more resources per capita than the most "lean" places with comparable standard of living.

Re:People, people everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390798)

Er, you're saying latin america and the carribean has a comparable standard of living? Canada would make a much better comparison.

Re:People, people everywhere (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390828)

There are also many countries in the EU among the "almost 3 times leaner, plenty nice standard" group.

Re:People, people everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390832)

Don't hate the playa.

Re:People, people everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390430)

Isn't there an ancient Chinese proverb/curse... may you live in interesting times?

Re:People, people everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390442)

Not really. Conflicts over water go back over 2000 years.

Re:People, people everywhere (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390470)

If it comes down to it, a nuke plant or two has enough power to desalinate a whole lot of water. People usually just don't bother because the regular stuff is almost laughably cheap - it falls from the sky, for free! - and shortages are usually more cheaply addressed by moving it around from one place to another. (In California, that's the whole "regulatory drought" affair, when the courts said they had to stop pumping water through one particular delta because of the endangered fish who might get killed by the pumps, and replacement infrastructure hasn't been built.)

Re:People, people everywhere (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390562)

The problem is that nuke plants have been at a standstill since the Carter days. What would be the best solution would be a large scale desalination plant system powered by nuclear reactors near enough so voltage losses are minimal, but far enough away that a disaster wouldn't contaminate the water supply. Combine both of these with a large pipeline similar to how oil gets across Alaska, and this would go a long way to ending the water fights in the western part of the US.

Re:People, people everywhere (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390610)

"A whole lot of water" locally, the amoutn being quite miniscule in larger picture. Unless you built more of them...and more...but from where will come the resources for that?

Re:People, people everywhere (1)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390794)

We had this debate a while back. Say, explicitly, what resources are limited.

Re:People, people everywhere (0, Flamebait)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390806)

It wasn't a debate. You simply preach your pet vision of the saviour of humanity that will usher is into paradise on Earth.

Well, forgive me for being a little more pragmatic...

Re:People, people everywhere (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390762)

If it comes down to it, a nuke plant or two has enough power to desalinate a whole lot of water.

Lulz.
Nuke plants have their own water issues.
Nuke plants use water for cooling, which means they dump heat into their water source (usually a river).
The allowable temperature of the output water is subject to all kinds of fun regulations.
(And there are regulations on the amount of water they can use for evaporative cooling)

Ontop of the heat issue, there's the fact that, because of drought and diversions, many rivers are a lot lower than they used to be, which in turn means that many existing nuke plants have had to lower their output to comply with output temperature regulations.

The cherry ontop of your nuclear pie is that desalination plants not only have the same kind of regulation on the temperature of wastewater, they also have the additional problem of salinity. When you desalinate water, you end up with a hot salty mess whose disposal is highly regulated.

Good luck finding an area conducive to nuclear power and desalination plants.

Re:People, people everywhere (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390566)

Yes, but while some whine about that some go about turning seawater into drinkable water

You know the whole "2/3 of the planet is water"

Re:People, people everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390598)

You know you are truly fucked in terms of population density when technically renewable and basically unlimited resources like water start to be discussed as possible causes of war... Interesting times ahead, guys.

hint: there's a little difference between "water" and "potable water".
the second one is not so unlimited as we'd like it to be.

Re:People, people everywhere (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390656)

It's not a resource availability problem: it's an infrastructure problem.

Infrastructure is not in place to get the water (in sufficient quantities) from (potentially distant) places where it is available, to satisfy everyone's needs, and perform any processing required to make it usable.

Water can be difficult to carry over long distances in large quantities (such as from the ocean) to remote areas of a continent, due to its tendency to corrode metal and other materials -- not just anything can carry it.

It also requires energy to pump water, or keep it under pressure.

Not to mention, that Ocean water is fairly dirty and requires desalination, and other processing to make it usable, which would be the highest cost. So usually water is taken from sources that are cheaper because they are closer or less processing is involved.

If you ask me... Intel, Bottling companies, and others like them, are creating the bulk of the scarcity problem, and they should foot the bill for the additional delivery infrastructure their presence is causing to be required.

They have a choice of where they build their large facilities, and the money to build new ones in places where water is not scarce, and close down old ones.

They just do not have the financial justification to do so. If the local government makes it massively more expensive to operate facilities in the areas where water is more scarce, the companies will be able to justify opening new plants, or finding alternative means to obtain resources, rather than competing for limited locally available resources.

As well, the plant operators should compensate for any other ongoing or any specific lasting impacts, required by their operations.

For example, if Intel generates a waste substance, such as ruined/spoiled water, there should be metering they are required to do, and a per-pound/per-milliliter charge that they have to pay to cover the risk and eventual cost of that to the public, as an insurance/security deposit, with annual multiple independent 3rd-party investigations, and have the amount that must be paid per unit automatically increased retroactively, if the impact causes harm, spoiling to the environment, or the public, including harm to any animals, any aesthetic damage, or hidden damage to the future utility of any land above ground or underground, in order to pay for fully reversing the impact.

Consumption or spoilage of any resources being a harm.

Re:People, people everywhere (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390746)

True - but the infrastructure problem comes down to a resource problem in the end. You need to have the resources to build that infrastructure in the first place.

Re:People, people everywhere (1)

GreenCow (201973) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390824)

It's not just the quantity of humans that are the problem, it's the way we're using the resources. The biggest contributor to freshwater use and pollution is the fact that humans are raising billions of animals for food every year. China and other developing countries are following the lead of the west and increasing their use of animals in the food supply.

Using animals for food in most places (i'm not concerned with mongolian goat herders or midwest deer hunters) is very inefficient in terms of water and land use, as well as being worse for human health than vegetarian/vegan diets. American life expectancies are going down as heart disease, cancer and diabetes go up with meat consumption. Not to mention reports such as 'Livestock's Long Shadow' which puts animal agriculture ahead of transport in terms of global warming impact, another contributor to water scarcity.

Why would I care? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390412)

I only care about seeing cheaper products on store shelves.

Re:Why would I care? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390704)

Um. I'll ignore the easy inhumane shot and point out the potential problem in your pocket:

War and riots cost money. For example, they sabotage the plant with a strike or a bomb... your precious products will suddenly get a huge price increase and/or get a huge rise in cost.

Re:Why would I care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390778)

Maybe they should start putting stickers on them, right under "Made in China":

"No White Americans have died of thirst or starvation in the making of this product."

2,117 cu meters/yr is a lot of water (1)

marcle (1575627) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390428)

If my arithmetic doesn't fail me, that's over 1500 gallons a day. We live in a dry area, and last summer the two of us averaged well under 200 gallons a day and did just fine. Of course we don't water a lawn or maintain a swimming pool...

Re:2,117 cu meters/yr is a lot of water (3, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390472)

I suspect they included the amount of water used to produce the goods you consume, not only your immediate personal consumption.

Re:2,117 cu meters/yr is a lot of water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390476)

Did you also not eat any food that requires water to grow?

Re:2,117 cu meters/yr is a lot of water (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390496)

maybe those numbers include agricultural production - some of its kinds are incredibly wasteful (needing also clea water at various stages)

A kilogram of meat (which is generally overconsumed easily by humans, falling into old evolutionary adaptation of "if there's unspoiled meat around, frakking eat it!", from the times it was scarce) needs something like...thousands of liters in the whole process, from farming to packaging.

Re:2,117 cu meters/yr is a lot of water (4, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390500)

There's a lot of indirect water use associated with modern life. The food you eat comes from crops and animals which need water irrigation and feed. The computer you're using has parts in it which were smelted and refined in processes which used lots of water. The electricity you're using comes from a plant which uses water as part of its cooling system. etc.

Re:2,117 cu meters/yr is a lot of water (1)

StormUP (892787) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390750)

A good portion of the electiricity I'm using comes from Hydropower. Now, technically this "uses" water to produce electricity, but there's not any less water after the electricity is produced and it's not substantially less potable.

Re:2,117 cu meters/yr is a lot of water (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390540)

How many gallons of water did it take to make the clothes you are wearing? How many to grow the food you eat? The water you buy from your local water company is a tiny fraction of your total water requirements.

So in other words... (-1, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390434)

So in other words you'd prefer to have a shortened lifetime living in the stone age then make a decent living with technology?

The fact is, China is pretty terrible for growing crops, its not too hard to import food or develop technology to help with agriculture.

Water is, for all intents and purposes, unlimited. If you don't have it, import it. The sea is filled with it, develop better methods of desalination and such.

Between the two, I think I'd rather work in an Intel factory than be a Chinese farmer.

Re:So in other words... (1, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390508)

Holy false dichotomy, batman. I am getting fed up with people spouting crap along these lines. As if the only alternative to fucking the ecosystem we are part of in the ass with a razor-wire wrapped dildo was living in the stone age.

Re:So in other words... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390578)

Oh yeah, desalination, it's like the world can't wait to see even more heavy industrial processes consuming lots of power.

What the humanity is now doing is essentially a slow, not readily apparent scorched earth strategy. Once the balance gets tipped sufficiently you'll see average life expectancy plummeting.

Water is precious, but TFA is a bit of a troll: (1, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390436)

On one hand, the claim is made that industries (of various kind) are consuming this very precious resource called water. On the other hand, China is becoming one of the most industrialized countries in the world, and is very much infatuated with it's industrial growth, and you can pry it from their cold, dead fingers.

Well, you know the saying: you can't eat a pie and have it, too. You just fucking can't. It's not politically incorrect, it's a fact, it is what it is. If China has overextended herself - can't support 1.3 billion people AND a hypertrophic industry? Well, then it won't.

Re:Water is precious, but TFA is a bit of a troll: (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390560)

Oh sure they will, using a little word known as Lebensraum [wikipedia.org]. Look up Chinese weapons manufacturing, they are cranking out ballistic subs like they had a war scheduled for next Tuesday. Why would little capitalist friendly China suddenly need huge fleets of missile boats? Because someone high up knows their current way of life isn't sustainable, and they want to have the firepower handy if/when they decide they need to "liberate" a country that has resources they need.

And would anybody really be surprised if they did? It isn't like the USA and Russia haven't had questionable wars...err I mean "police actions" in the past, so why not China? While my heart says the bad blood between China and Japan and Korea might point the dragon in that direction, my head says Africa. There is simply too many precious minerals and other resources controlled by warlords and crushing the militaries in that region would be quite easy for the Chinese army.

Re:Water is precious, but TFA is a bit of a troll: (5, Funny)

d34dluk3 (1659991) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390696)

Oh sure they will, using a little word known as Lebensraum [wikipedia.org].

They had to import a German word to describe their devious plans? Sounds like China's experiencing a word shortage as well.

Re:Water is precious, but TFA is a bit of a troll: (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390718)

You don't even need to go so far as to refer to lebensraum.

China, India, and other countries all have disputed claims on areas of the Tibetan plateau. There was a war fought over some of that territory only a few decades ago. And those disputes are heating up again... because the Tibetan plateau is the location of the headwaters of some of the largest rivers in Asia.

The prospect of war between India and China is a scary one, IMO. I sometimes wonder if China would push into a war over the Tibetan plateau in order to help pacify their own citizens in case their economy dips even further.

Water you are red commie hating bastard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390624)

Water you then?

The problem has been solved many times over! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390474)

http://www.ide-tech.com/media-center/articles/South%20Israel%20100%20million%20m3/year%20Seawater%20Desalination%20Facility

Just because its been invented doesn't mean people know about it. Geez whats up with /. lately?

we forgot how to work ourselfs (2, Interesting)

zugedneb (601299) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390544)

and others have to do it for us...
Instead of becoming muscular, sexy hardworking people, look what we have done to ourselfs in the latest 50 years:
1. we forgot how food is made - have you ever seen a pigslaughter? I have...
2. we forgot how textiles are made, do we even make clothes in western europe? Except expensive ill-fitting italian shit?
3. we have new types of morons: celebrities, entrepreneurs, hairstylists, economists, socionomists
4. we have laboriously invented new psychical diseases - new types of "voluntary railroadworkers in siberia" never seem to end
5. education: 90 percent of us are just using complicated jargon... say, how many electrical engeneers (in sweden) know what actual mathematical field the FFT belongs to... Do you?

we are becoming morons; when the people educated in the 70-80ies die, there will be only educated psychopats and some health care left in the modern western world...

Muuuuuuaaaaaahaahhhaaahaaahaaahaaaaa....

and please do not bother me with your deep economic wisdom... entertain your hemorrhoids instead...

Re:we forgot how to work ourselfs (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390698)

We have enough specialists in each of those fields to bootstrap back up if necessary, and I'd rather have a hairstylist than go to my barber for a leeching.

FFT: i don't even know what you mean. I guess FFT strictly speaking grew out of the field of analysis? Unless you are computing the eigenvectors or using it for multiplication, then it's algebra, combinatorics, and number theory. If you're actually implementing a DFT, then it's mostly combinatorics and engineering. My math professor said that his best analysis students, on average, tend to have EE background, so whatever.

Re:we forgot how to work ourselfs (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390724)

True, true

But still:

1. Yes. Slaughter day rocks - fresh sausages+beer, and yeah I participated in the work often enough.

2. More that true. The region I was born was huge in textile industry - now it is a post-industrial wasteland.

3. We have been busy inventing new types of morons for centuries. Nothing to see here. More prominent now, though, I give you that.

4. Disagree. Better to actually investigate what is wrong with people than just sticking them into asylum under the general diagnosis of "nutcase".

5. Algebra, ring theory - next question? (not an EE myself, though, but a biochemist who used to use FFT daily)

Re:we forgot how to work ourselfs (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390848)

1. I have slaughtered more than just a pig.
2. American Apparel makes fine clothes in the USA, as do many others. This is not Western Europe but it is part of the Western World. Woot shirts use their blanks. There are also english and german firms that make excellent clothing.
3.Always had those
4. You're not making sense
5.We use complicated jargon as it would be too hard to explain what many educated folks do otherwise. Try explaining a Fast Fourier Transform to your DR who clearly is an educated person.

In short you are probably someone who is starting to get old and has not done a whole lot with his life rather than acting like this try accomplishing something.

Can someone fucking explain this to me? (2, Interesting)

the_macman (874383) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390602)

Explain this to me. Water is renewable. It's not getting gobbled up. It's not getting ruined. We're not "running" out of drinking water. It's not syphoning out of the planet. The whole fucking planet is water. It's stupid easy to desalinate water and purify toxic water for drinking. My wife is always telling me about the water crisis. I'm like what fucking crisis? Water isn't going anywhere. Desalination is expensive but it will become cheaper when we need it. Supply and demand. Fossil fuels--THERE is something you should be worried about.

Re:Can someone fucking explain this to me? (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390726)

"when we need it" means demand goes up. That makes the price increase by your "supply and demand" mantra.

Any economies of scale on the supply side are bottlenecked by the price of energy. The cheap form of which is the very thing you said we should be worried about...

Re:Can someone fucking explain this to me? (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390730)

"It's not getting ruined."

While it is not getting destroyed, its usefulness is. Contamination is a problem. So in that sense it is "ruined".

"It's stupid easy to desalinate water and purify toxic water for drinking."

Define "easy". If you mean by a well known scalable process, sure. If you mean by a cost effective, practical one, no. Purifying water can be even worse.

"Fossil fuels--THERE is something you should be worried about."

And what do you think will be used to produce the energy to RUN the desalination and purification plants?

Yes and No (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390640)

This is going to get moded into karma hell, but you can't outbreed your resources. This is true for all life forms, including humans.

2000 m^3 per person per year?!? That's a lot! (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390658)

I just looked at my water usage for the past year, and it's about 32000 US gallons. Google tells me that this equals about 121 cubic meters. So if I lived in China, I'd only be able to use about 20 times as much water as I currently use? Oh no.

Re:2000 m^3 per person per year?!? That's a lot! (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390702)

The summary of TFA spells it out for you. Water consumption is more than what you see on your statement each month. It goes into the products you use every day, whether you realize it or not.

Re:2000 m^3 per person per year?!? That's a lot! (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390738)

If you're counting the water used to make the products I buy as water I use, then you can't also say that the water the companies use is in conflict with this, since it's the same water.

Re:2000 m^3 per person per year?!? That's a lot! (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390770)

I did not say that they were conflicting data sources. What I said is that you are only looking at a small part of your overall usage. You directly consume 32,000 gallons through flushing your toilet, showering, watering your lawn, doing laundry, etc. That does not take into account the water used in the manufacture of the computer you are using right now. Of your phone, your soda in the fridge, all that stuff. Those things do not show up on your statement. You have no way to reasonably measure or understand them.

Re:2000 m^3 per person per year?!? That's a lot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390714)

You really should shower more often...

Re:2000 m^3 per person per year?!? That's a lot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390740)

scarce resources needed by the 1.6 billion people who rely on water for farming

Do you run a farm? During a drought?

The obvious simple solution: (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390710)

increase the damn price of water. In fact use a tiered system in which farmers get a free quota as do drinking water supplies, which Coca Cola pays for their first drop.

"But they'll leave and take their production elsewhere", that solves the water problem too. Just find the right price point. If the jobs are more important that people having food and water, set it at 0...

Re:The obvious simple solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390820)

Your solution is that the Chinese government specifically targets Coke and the like? Why not just kick them out and be done with it? Oh right, because factories like Coke are the lifeblood of their entire economy.

"Water Stressed Countries?" (1)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390728)

" According a 2009 report..., 2.4 billion of the world's population lives in 'water-stressed' countries such as China and India"

The combined population of just China and India is about 2.36 billion... So only 40 million people outside of China and India live in water-stressed countries? I would have thought that the population of the countries of just the Sahara desert region would exceed 40 million.

Given that countries can be geographically large with distinctively different regions, and moving huge quantities of water around can be quite difficult, I'm not sure that the term "water-stressed" should even be applied to a country as a whole. There are areas of the USA that are water stressed (Southern California comes to mind) and other areas that are not.

not all bad.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32390764)

on behalf of all residents who live in the pacific north-west I'd like to quote the immortal dave chappel " we're RICH Biatch!" :)

cliff notes (2, Insightful)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390790)

There's two key themes of the article and both are inadequately covered by the OP.

1. Criticism of China's mismanagement of their water resource, principally with reference to the humanitarian results.

2. The impact on industry if:
a) China continues to mismanage, in which case industry in China is going to have a major problem.
b) China begins to manage, in which case there is going to be a huge opportunity for water supply industries.

Industry itself is given some of the blame but their focus is rightly on the government. It is their responsibility for telling Intel that they cannot build a factory there because there is insufficient water for everyone else. Sure, maybe Intel should install a desalination plant or whatever, but the government is supposed to be demanding that as a requirement for building the factory, not relying on Intel deciding it would be a nice thing to do. Even if Intel suddenly had a case of the guilts and built a plant, all that would happen is someone else builds a factory to utilise the water Intel are no longer using. It would be a totally pointless gesture unless part of a government plan.

wars (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390846)

'Wars may start over the scarcity of water'

Yeah, Intel may form an army and fight for water within China.

There is no water shortage! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 3 years ago | (#32390852)

All this is due to bad, greedy management and politics. We're barely using one percent of the known water supplies on the planet. Everybody should STFU and desalinate, or at least catch the fresh water falling on the oceans.

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