The San Antonio Science Café Message Board › Playing God and the butterfly effect

Playing God and the butterfly effect

user 10216753
San Antonio, TX
Post #: 3
I need someone smarter than me to answer this question. Would it be possible to create a giant super soaker hose that pumps and filters sea water to dessert land and slowly aerates it? Would it change the landscape. If this were done in AZ or S. CA, how would this effect other area
Lisa M.
user 18148101
San Antonio, TX
Post #: 1
I can think of lots of potential problems, unfortunately... The water would need to be desalinated (very expensive), it would need to be done on an ongoing basis, the soil would need some serious amending done to it besides simply water, it could affect water levels at the coast, the resources required may be better spent elsewhere... (I'd rather see large tracts of desert used to supply wind energy than trying to alter the terrain to make it more liveable or farmable.) Just some initial thoughts...
Danny V.
user 17335811
San Antonio, TX
Post #: 1
Is it possible? Yes, mostly on a small scale. Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units (ROWPU) and similar technologies are currently used by the military and other commercial and private entities to filter and, or desalinate water for potable consumption and irrigation.

My question would be: Why would we want to irrigate, aerate, change the landscape, etc of those regions you mentioned? In addition to the concerns mentioned by Ms. Moon, the adverse effects of artificial irrigation would have on the natural habitats of the indigenous animals and plants would be irreversible compared to the benefits gained. Perhaps a better solution would be to improve farming methods on existing farmlands--make better use of crop rotation and grazing lands.

Presently, there is is already a complex system of man-made (or man-managed) waterways, canals, levies and pumps that move water from snowmelt and rainwater collection reservoirs to "farmable" areas of the southwestern United States. Should the need arise to acquire additional lands for agriculture and ranching arises, I believe the technology is available (albeit at a cost); however, natural resources are finite and limited; as such, the choice to desalinate and filter seawater should be done only after all other "less environmentally impactful" solutions have been exhausted.

San Antonio, TX
Post #: 5
I survived the 1950s drought and my parent's fear because of it. Therefore I am very careful of water. The easiest solution to water difficulties is personal reuse in addition to rain harvesting. I do both. As a single individual, I harvest from 1400 square feet into three 3,500 gallon water tanks. They are all full because I am extremely cautious and the roof even collects water with condensation. I use bath water to flush the toilet. I do not use a dishwasher or a garbage disposal. Laundry water waters plants. Dish water is used to water a very happy fig tree producing more figs than the birds and myself can eat. The large garden I have does use about 3,500 gallons of watering in a week so the major problem is food. However, I have read that meat production uses more than fruit or vegetable so becoming a vegan would be a start for the majority of us, especially if we are prone to high-fat intake type diseases. I recommend T. Colin Campbell's book entitled "Whole." Anyone not having read this risks their health and their life as well as the earth. The production of meat causes huge amounts of CO2 to feed and cut trees for grass-fed meats. Fruit and vegetable eaters cause the production of CO2 absorbing trees and plants and use less water than meat production.
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