Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Science

Scientists Discover Huge Freshwater Reserves Beneath the Ocean 273

Posted by samzenpus
from the water-dissolving-and-water-removing dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have discovered huge freshwater reserves beneath the seabed on continental shelves off the coast of Australia, North America, China and South Africa. 'The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we've extracted from the Earth's sub-surface in the past century since 1900. Fresh water on our planet is increasingly under stress and strain so the discovery of significant new stores off the coast is very exciting. It means that more options can be considered to help reduce the impact of droughts and continental water shortages' says Dr Vincent Post of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and the School of the Environment at Flinders University."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Scientists Discover Huge Freshwater Reserves Beneath the Ocean

Comments Filter:
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday December 09, 2013 @06:20AM (#45637899) Homepage

    You jest, but a change in salinity could have a big impact.

    This will turn into just another way to rape the planet instead of trying to do things sustainably.

    Remember: There's no place to go once it's trashed

    (Which it will be, I have no doubt about that. So long as somebody, somewhere can make a buck doing so, they'll do it...)

  • by beh (4759) * on Monday December 09, 2013 @06:26AM (#45637919)

    Before we try and get and that additional freshwater - has anyone found another possible _deposit_ location for all the rubbish and toxic waste we're producing? ...even if we would get at that water, it would only be a stop-gap -- right now, most seem to think that there will always be some new source of whatever resource we need to keep our "unsustainable" pace going...

    It's the same about what people say that the shale oil will give the US enough oil for 100 years -- it's _maybe_ 100 years _at the current pace of consumption. But if there is a 100 years worth of more energy - why even _try_ and save? Why not even indulge in even more energy-intensive enterprises?

    The same goes for finding huge amounts of new fresh-water - we'll just find ways to consume it even faster, instead of trying to focus on limiting the damage we do to the planet, and treating any additional resources as 'emergency rations' that we won't touch unless there is no other way.

  • by philip.paradis (2580427) on Monday December 09, 2013 @06:29AM (#45637929)

    Latrines use seawater on various naval vessels. Using fresh water to catch poop, if an abundant supply of seawater is available, is just dumb.

  • by tysonedwards (969693) on Monday December 09, 2013 @07:01AM (#45638029)
    While there is a whole universe out there waiting to be colonized, it would take tens of thousands of years at current technological levels to simply reach another other world beyond our solar system, let alone being able to return with the resources that we find should said resources even exist. As a reminder, we haven't sent a person beyond a Low Earth Orbit in decades.
  • by advid.net (595837) <slashdot@adv i d . net> on Monday December 09, 2013 @07:01AM (#45638031) Journal

    I'm afraid that pumping this water will lead to the same phenomenon in Libya :

    As they pump the fossil water of deep aquifers in the desert, the dwells all around get dry or have now a much lower water level.

    See the GMMR project: huge pipe to provide fresh water to the coastal cities, pumped from deep fossil aquifers of the desert that may not get resplenish any time soon. This is maybe not as simple as communicating vessels, but the people think the dwells dry out are link to this project.

  • by khallow (566160) on Monday December 09, 2013 @07:14AM (#45638079)

    Before we try and get and that additional freshwater - has anyone found another possible _deposit_ location for all the rubbish and toxic waste we're producing?

    Well, there is the ground. That's where we put most of our rubbish and toxic waste. It works pretty well despite the complaints to the contrary.

    But if there is a 100 years worth of more energy - why even _try_ and save? Why not even indulge in even more energy-intensive enterprises?

    Because the cost is greater than the benefit. Sometimes it actually is worth conserving cheap energy.

    The same goes for finding huge amounts of new fresh-water - we'll just find ways to consume it even faster, instead of trying to focus on limiting the damage we do to the planet, and treating any additional resources as 'emergency rations' that we won't touch unless there is no other way.

    What's the point of this "focus"? The planet isn't that damaged. The resources in question aren't that depleted.

    But what I find fundamentally frivolous about this whole story is that apparently they've discovered a year's worth of rainfall (which is also in the neighborhood of half a million cubic kilometers). Freshwater is not a resource we're running out of. It's merely poorly distributed compared to who wants to use it.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday December 09, 2013 @07:16AM (#45638087)

    Have you ever heard the phrase "all rivers run into the sea"?

    There are lots of ecological problems to be concerned about, freshwater contamination of the oceans is not one of them. Environmentalist over-reaction to damn near every scientific advance put forth doesn't do them any favors. It just makes you look like reactionary nutjobs.

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Monday December 09, 2013 @07:21AM (#45638109)
    1) Find a new natural resource, a crown jewel of mother nature
    2) Start immediately raping this resource and pumping it dry
    3) ???
    4) Profit!
  • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Monday December 09, 2013 @07:54AM (#45638205)
    Where did the "radioactive components" (fucking bananas are radioactive so just saying that scary word doesn't work on people with an education) come from? Underground, perhaps? But putting them back is a problem? Yawn. I bet you'd have signed the petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide.
  • Whew! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spit (23158) on Monday December 09, 2013 @08:15AM (#45638261)

    For a minute there I thought we'd have to stop washing our shit away with drinking water.

  • by rmpotter (177221) on Monday December 09, 2013 @08:48AM (#45638369) Homepage

    Exactly. Blind faith that "future" technology will save the day is not much better than any other kind of faith.

  • by erikkemperman (252014) on Monday December 09, 2013 @09:47AM (#45638695)

    There is no logic in ensuring adequate resources for future generations. If I'm not alive to benefit, it doesn't matter what happens after I die. If you are an atheist, or otherwise do not believe in an after-life of any kind, this is even more true.

    This is only true if your outlook is basically "me me me", i.e. pathologically narcissistic and/or egocentric. It may surprise you that there a quite a few people who don't share that selfish view, atheist or otherwise.

    I don't have kids myself, but my sister does. I want these little guys to have a planet worth living on. And, for that matter, your kids too.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday December 09, 2013 @09:53AM (#45638733) Homepage

    Actually, it is current technology and it is more expensive which is why cheaper solutions are prefered.

    Meanwhile ...10% of GDP on military seems perfectly OK.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @09:58AM (#45638767)

    For the most part, the rest of the world has outsourced their security to the United States. They don't necessarily pay with dollars, but they often do pay with favorable trade terms and other non-monetary incentives. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but most of the rest of the world seems to be okay with this, even if they won't admit it.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday December 09, 2013 @10:17AM (#45638917) Homepage

    Imagine if all that money had been spent on energy research (solve the remaining engineering problems to build working thorium reactors, develop fusion, whatever it takes...energy is a solvable problem if you have trillions of dollars to spend and enough political willpower)

    The USA would be world leader in cheap energy, and by extension industry, transportation, etc. (cheap energy opens all sort of doors, not just helping the environment). The USA could export power plants all over the world on its own terms. The US economy would be untouchable and if they were running the reactors they'd have the world by the balls, no military needed (see Asimov's "Foundation" for details).

    How is that not a plan of action that meets all American goals?

  • by Gavagai80 (1275204) on Monday December 09, 2013 @10:34AM (#45639063) Homepage
    Since all of this water is along the continental shelf and is fresh water only because it used to be above sea level, deep water rigs are obviously not involved.
  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Monday December 09, 2013 @12:13PM (#45640147)

    Meanwhile ...10% of GDP on military seems perfectly OK.

    What country does that? Certainly not the USA. Our defense budget is about 5% of GDP.

    If you want to find something that adds up to 10% of GDP, you have to look at social programs...

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder

Working...