How 1,500 Nuclear-Powered Water Desalination Plants Could Save The World From Desertification

Jul 14, 2019 –
James Conca Contributor
James Conca

About 20% of the world’s population has no access to safe drinking water, and this number will increase as the population continues to grow and global freshwater sources continue to decline. The worst-affected areas are the arid and semiarid regions of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

California is entering a long period of recurring megadroughts, in direct conflict with its burgeoning population and huge agricultural industry. Shown here is a cornfield recently succumbing to drought. There have been many schemes to bring more water to the state, but it’s best to go with desalinating seawater powered by nuclear. BOB NICHOLS, USDA

UNESCO has reported that the freshwater shortfall worldwide will rise to 500 trillion gallons/yr by 2025. They expect water wars to break out in the near-future. The World Economic Forum says that shortage of fresh water may be the primary global threat in the next decade.

But 500 trillion gallons/year only requires about 1,500 seawater desalination plants like the ones being built in California and Saudi Arabia. At a billion dollars a pop, that’s a lot cheaper than war and starvation.

Unfortunately, we presently desalinate only 10 trillion gallons/year worldwide.

As reported in the Tri-City Herald and NYTimes, stock exchange mutual funds have even formed surrounding water scarcity and have done quite well, like the AllianzGI Global Water Fund. This fund has averaged almost 10% since 2010 compared to under 6% for its average peer fund. These companies mainly deliver, test and clean drinking water.

In California, the MegaDrought, that ended in 2017 ran for five years, severely straining water supplies, agricultural needs and wildlife. It clarified the need to build new desalination plants like every other modern arid population in the world. Most of Abu Dhabi’s gas-fired power plants provide electricity to their huge desalination plants that deliver over a billion gallons of drinking water a day, at about 40¢/gallon. And it tastes good, too, I’ve tried it.

California needs 30 large desalination plants to deal with future megadroughts. They did recently build one in Carlsbad, but it’s not nearly enough.

Desalination technologies are capable of treating water from a wide variety of sources, including brackish groundwater, surface water, seawater, and domestic and industrial wastewater. While the wastewater from desalination is itself problematic, MIT has developed a process to turn it into useful products.

The two main types of desalination are:



India’s latest crisis: 600 million people struggle with drought

The Interpreter

16 Jul 2019 08:30

The agonising and often exhausting wait for the monsoon has long inspired India’s writers and poets. But it’s the country’s farmers who know all too well the impact a delayed or indeed a failed monsoon can have on millions of lives.

The monsoon is India’s life-giver, its rebirth and its life blood. Nearly 60% of India’s agriculture depends on the rains. Indeed as the environmental activist Sunita Narian claimed, “Indians know that the monsoon is the real finance minister of India”.

Since 2015, India has been experiencing widespread drought conditions. In fact, some 600 million people in India are presently facing high to extreme water stress. According to the government’s own report, India is facing its worst ever water crisis. The report by premier policy research centre NITI Aayog says that by 2030 the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply.

But all that is in the future. Today millions of farmers hit by drought and crop failure are struggling to stay alive. More than 80% of districts in the states of Karnataka and 70% in the state of Maharashtra have been declared drought affected. More than 6000 tankers supply water to nearly 15,000 villages and hamlets in Maharashtra alone.


Nigeria’s grazing crisis threatens the future of the nation

Financial Times


Ethnic Fulani herdsmen have moved their cattle to Nigeria’s middle belt region because of population growth and desertification in the north © AFP

Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.comT&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here.

Nigeria’s cattle-grazing crisis has become a national security threat, sparking ethnic tension nationwide. Amnesty International estimates that more than 2,000 deaths in 2018 alone resulted from clashes between herdsmen and farmers over access to water and pasture and the destruction of land and property — particularly belonging to farmers in the country’s middle belt region. Herdsmen from the Fulani ethnic region in the north have brought their cattle to other parts of the country to graze for generations. Climate change, rapid population growth and desertification in the north have made it difficult to breed cattle. The brutal violence has been a problem for some years. In 2014 the Global Terrorism Index judged Fulani militants to be the fourth most deadly terror group in the world, behind Boko Haram, Isis and the Taliban. Last year, Nigeria’s National Economic Council took action. It came to the conclusion that the development of designated cattle ranches would be the best solution to the problem. The ministry of agriculture also developed a National Livestock Transformation Plan to address food security and promote industrial growth. The NLTP committee, chaired by vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, also advocated ranching.


African Development Bank, Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification join forces to strengthen capacity in climate change and land degradation


 REPORT from African Development Bank – 15 Jul 2019

The African Development Bank and the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (GM/UNCCD), in partnership with UN Women, are joining forces to strengthen the capacity of African stakeholders to tackle climate change.

The resolution followed a workshop, hosted at the African Development Bank Headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, from 10 to 12 July 2019, on the topic of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN). Participants in the workshop also discussed gender issues in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) processes.

Other participating partners included the Sahel Commission on Climate Change, IFDD, IUCN/GEF and country, NGO and private sector representatives such as World Vision Ethiopia, the Global Shea Alliance, Global Evergreening Alliance, Great Green Wall Panafrican Agency, GIZ, WRI and UNDP.


Climate change, inequality threaten shaky SDG progress, UN reports

By Amy Lieberman // 
10 July 2019
A piece of the Sustainable Development Goals puzzle. Photo by: Manuel Elias / U.N.

UNITED NATIONS — Climate change and inequality are threatening the unsteady progress countries are making on the Sustainable Development Goals, U.N. experts warned on Tuesday.

With the exception of a few areas, the majority of the 17 global goals remain off-track for completion by their 2030 deadline, according to the United Nations’ latest report on the SDGs.

“It is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster, and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and economic transformation needed to achieve our 2030 goals.”— António Guterres, U.N. secretary-general

“The goals are very ambitious — like reaching zero hunger, eliminating poverty — and it is really challenging to reach that target in a short period of time,” Yongyi Min, chief of the Sustainable Development Goal Monitoring Section at the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said in an interview with Devex.

“Climate change jeopardizes a lot of the progress already made if we do not take on this issue. The goals are all interlinked, climate change links to poverty, links to disaster, links to hunger, links to water scarcity, and biodiversity loss,” Min continued.


GM and AfDB to build capacity of African stakeholders on LDN–climate change nexus


Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire – The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Mechanism (GM) of UNCCD, in partnership with UN Women, are joining forces to build the capacity of African stakeholders on the climate change/land degradation nexus through the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets. The workshop on 10-12 July 2019, hosted at the AfDB Headquarters in Abidjan, also facilitated the understanding of gender issues in the context of the UNFCCC and UNCCD processes.

Partners, including the Sahel Commission on Climate Change, IFDD and IUCN/GEF along with the NGO and private sector representatives from World Vision Ethiopia, Global Shea Alliance, Global Evergreening Alliance, Great Green Wall Panafrican Agency, GIZ, WRI and UNDP – actively participated to the workshop. 

“The LDN objectives and associated measures will contribute to the implementation of national climate action plans, and vice versa. These synergies should be taken into account when developing national plans for the LDN and updating the CDNs under the Paris Agreement, ” said Al Hamdou Dorsouma, Manager of Climate Change and Green Growth at AfDB. 

“The participants had a chance to explore various investment opportunities, including structuring bankable projects that encompass both NDC and LDN targets, with focus on achieving the SDGs and integrating gender perspectives,” explained Sandrine Jauffret of  UNCCD.


Hail, flash floods in UAE desert: Blame it on climate change

July 14, 2019 |
by Sarwat Nasir/Dubai

In the UAE, a senior official from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said there have been “observable changes” in the climate.

The impact of climate change is increasingly starting to show in the UAE as residents experience longer hot and humid seasons with changing patterns of rainfall, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has said.

The effects of climate change are being felt across the region. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait saw record temperatures recently, with the mercury shooting up to 55°C and 63°C, respectively. Bahrain also recorded its highest temperature since 1902 at 45.3°C.

In the UAE, a senior official from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said there have been “observable changes” in the climate like flash floods, longer electrical storms and rains. Rising sea levels also pose a risk.

“People in the Middle East already feel the impacts of climate change in all aspects of their lives. Based on current projections, such impacts will continue to grow in intensity and frequency,” Qais Bader Al Suwaidi, assistant expert of climate change at the ministry, told Khaleej Times. “Climate change in the GCC region has contributed to higher temperatures and humidity.”

Talking specifically about the UAE, Al Suwaidi said climate change amplifies the issues of water scarcity and limited arable land, which adversely affect agriculture. This increases the country’s dependence on food imports.

Flash floods in Ras Al Khaimah have become all too common, while the northern parts of the country experience hail frequently.