Daily Challenge Day 38

So last night mind was meandering around transporting water resources.

Back to the 5 km cells, which would require around 7 million people for the whole planet, and given a world population of 7 billion, each cell could be occupied by 1000 people. Maitland SA has a population of around 1000 people. The Yorke Peninsula, and South Australia is increasingly looking like a good case study in development. Always considered that the solution to development in the so called third world starts at home, not in the third world.

As mentioned, South Australia (SA) is the driest state on the driest continent on earth. If SA can solve water supply problem, and expand its population, then we have the solution for the rest of the world. The Yorke Peninsula is a good relatively isolated or remote region with agriculture and mining. As far as I am aware our water supply is not on the peninsula, it is from up north. Though I don’t believe the agriculture is dependent on irrigation, rainfall is available. Though with only around 25 km from centre line to each coast, there seems to be high humidity, dampness, with mists and rain potentially laden with salts. Doesn’t seem to do the metal roofs of buildings any good. Not sure what harm it would have on crops. Still crop production does seem large enough to support silos and grain ports.

Referring back to previous calculations of numbers of cells, Yorke Peninsula council area has 297 cells, whilst the Copper Coast council area has 39 cells. Thus Copper Coast area has approximately 1/8th the number of cells, and a population of just over 12,000, whilst Yorke Peninsula area has  population just below 12,000 people. With the enclosing rectangle from earlier post being 240 km x 135 km, extending to the Port Pirie council area {NB: this ignores the width of the peninsula which is approximately 50 km across at each point.}.

So back to approximating water supply. Minimum of 2 L per day, and 365 days per year, for simplicity call 400 days, therefore require 800 L/year per person. Have 10^-3 m^3 per litre, therefore need 0.8 m^3, and for simplicity make equal to 1 m^3.

Therefore a Town of 1000 people requires a 1000 m^3 of water: 10 x 10 x 10 m storage tank. Or staying with litres approximate to 1000 L/year per person, would require 1 million  litres. Assume truck carries 20,000 L, then require 50 truck loads of water. Assuming maximum distance from coastline to interior is 5000 km for any continent. Then at 100 km/hr will take 50 hours, and at 50km/h will take 100 hours. At say travel time of 10 hours/day, will take from 5 to 10 days to deliver. From previous, the 20 L container at consumption of 2 L/day, would last 10 days.

A distance of 5000 km has to cross 1000 x 5 km cells. A person can cross the cell in 1 hour, if they work for 10 hours, they can make five trips from one side to the other. Assuming they can carry two 20 L containers at a time, then they can transport 10 containers, or 200L each day. But moving from the coast to the interior it is still only travelling at 5km/h, and would take a 1000 hours to move.

So have a potential sustainability problem. Transporting water by pipeline or truck is not entirely sustainable into the distant future. But transportation by people places a constraint on distance from water supply, unless can stockpile water in relatively large quantities.

Therefore part of the problem is getting water storage tanks to developing regions. Since as far as I am aware the primary activity at present is simply delivering water containers: no large scale local storage. That is to say the developing countries need water tankers and water storage tanks. With production network to manufacture, distribute, operate and maintain such tanks.

As for the industrialised world: does each person really need 100L/day to 900 L/day, when 2L/day per person is minimum for survival? Note that the higher figure is typically an average per person taken across the whole of an industrialised nations water usage and includes agriculture and industrial uses. Whilst the lower figure is typically the domestic home usage averaged across occupants. Still a need for 5 x 20 L containers per day, and given across Australia household occupancy is just below 3 persons per house, then would need 15 containers for each household.

So consider that 20 L containers are the normal size due to the weight and ability to be manually handled. Then is terms of water usage consider volume in terms of the number of containers that you would need to transport each quarter. Ponder the practicality of watering the garden using 20 L containers. Also consider that the required 2 L/day is potable water supply, the other additional uses of water rarely need to be potable.

So the industrialised world’s primary problem in terms of secure water supply, is a centralised water supply and sewage system which is built around disposing of water down the drain. When water is drawn from a stream or river it is not disposed off in the same way: it mostly seeps into the ground and returns to the river. Water naturally flows downhill to the sea. The water supply pipe networks block flow of water to the rivers or sea, until the water enters the sewer pipe network. Stormwater drainage systems also tend to pipe water towards the oceans rather than into storage.

Put another way the industrialised world has a lot of centralised enslaving infrastructure, which needs to be removed and replaced with something less enslaving.

The infrastructure is enslaving because we become dependent upon such systems, and the system becomes our master. Even though the system serves us poorly we continue to serve it so that we can continue to get some service from it.