Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Monday, July 21, 2008

All day I face the barren waste without the taste of water*

Cool Water -- What if Water Drives City Growth?

I used to live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and our drinking water came from the Glenmore Reservoir which was fed by the glacier fed Elbow River. I used to figure the water supply pretty secure as the glaciers had been their for tens of thousands of years as opposed to aquifer supplied ground water in areas where the water tables seemed to be dropping regularly as consumption exceeded local rainfall or areas where river fed systems were reliant on winter snowfall and rainfall in watersheds.

But now with glaciers shrinking at what I am led to believe are alarming rates it makes me wonder...

While it is true we might get desalination plants running economically and at scales where it is useful to supply cities with and conservation efforts would make huge differences -- perhaps many cities in some areas of the World might have populations slowly shrink while others would gain based on the availability of water?

Coastal cities may grow at much larger rates than projected and landlocked cities while not shrinking might stay at current sizes -- shrinking relatively speaking.

Of course in a sense over decades you might move a city's population, but what about food production? Perhaps the bread baskets of the world might simply shift north or south a number of degrees latitude which will make some farms boom while others bust, but it might be more drastic. I just watched a news piece on grape harvest in Spain having problems. You see they are at the southern-warmest-driest limits for wine grapes and with weather getting hotter and drier the varieties of grapes they have been growing traditionally have started producing less well. For instance there is increased activity of pests associated with the grape vines and the picking is happening days and weeks earlier in the season. Growers are starting to plant new vineyards higher up the slopes of the mountains than ever before because it is cooler up there. Northern producers of wine are having excellent crops though with the weather improving for them.

I am sure that some varieties of some foods might be a problem.

However how will this effect the cities of our World? In addition to populations perhaps moving to places where there is more water -- and perhaps that being where salt water might be desalinated -- those might also be the areas more prone to problems of storm surges and flooding with any rise in world sea levels?

It makes you think.

~ Darrell


*Lyrics to Cool Water -- Sons of the Pioneers is on

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