Talk:Peak water

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Former good article nominee Peak water was a Agriculture, food and drink good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
February 10, 2009 Good article nominee Not listed
February 22, 2009 Good article reassessment Not listed
Current status: Former good article nominee
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More information in January 2009 issue of Awake![edit]

Editors of Peak water can find more information in the January 2009 issue of the magazine Awake!, which has, on pages 3 and 4, the article "Are We Running Out of Water?", and, on pages 5 to 7, the article "The Water Crisis--What Is Being Done?". Page 7 consists of three photographs and one diagram.

In these two articles, the magazine cites the following sources.

-- Wavelength (talk) 19:56, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
[I corrected some of the page numbers. -- Wavelength (talk) 19:34, 5 February 2009 (UTC)]

Awake! is not an authoritative source. We should quote the books mentioned directly or use the sources that they used. -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 00:37, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Here is a good article that can't be used directly because "it is published in a blog": TheOilDrum: Peak water in Saudi Arabia The oil drum is a well respected blog by professionals and the articles are well sourced. Still it's not "authoritative". Some of the references used to build the OilDrum article are worth looking at. For example, this IDRC article is could be good material: Water demand management in Saudi Arabia Kgrr (talk) 12:58, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Please see Wikipedia:Citing sources#Cite the place where you found the material.
-- Wavelength (talk) 23:29, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

Post your comments here: Wikipedia:Good article reassessment/Peak water/1


There are some language clarity issues... which need addressing... and have started to do some of that. Others, please scrutinize what I am doing and improve it further. The article is interesting and important... and just needs some tweaking ... it is impressive with the scope and information it is presenting.. and valuable information through out the article... just needs a little nudging and some formatting and a few refs/citations. skip sievert (talk) 01:20, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

So here are the issues so far:

  • 1/1a. well written, plagiarism

Two editors have reworked the article. Plagiarism: One sentence, restated and given proper credit with a reference does not constitute plagiarism. Any more change to the fact I am quoting makes it original research. Help me understand the problem.

  • 1b. lead does not summarize the article

We need to work on this.

  • 2a/b. "Once an aquifer is contaminated, it is not likely that it can ever recover."

I will find several references.Alternatives for Ground Water Cleanup

  • 4. neutrality

I suppose that there are facts showing that Saudi Arabia did not have peak water? Or, that Libya will not have peak water when they are mining fossil water? Bring on the evidence. I don't quite get the NPOV argument here. Kgrr (talk) 17:24, 17 February 2009 (UTC) -- Saudi Arabia[edit]

First, I would like to thank User_Talk: for the very constructive edits and responding to the cleanup tag. The article is very much better overall now. The only thing that caught my eye was the reversion of my edit regarding [Saudi Arabia]. The next citation in that paragraph does not support this assertion, and it seems to me that declaring that any place has hit peak water with any level of finality is speculative, unless we attribute that sort of claim to the person who is saying it. "According to so-and-so, Saudi Arabia has hit peak water" Gigs (talk) 15:42, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

I put a link to information that would seem to confirm the claim. A wealth of data on the Saudi Arabian water situation can be found in the paper by Walid A. Abderrahman (2001) "Water Demand Management in Saudi Arabia". From this paper, we learn that water production in Saudi Arabia has reached a peak in the early 1990s, at more than 30 billion cubic meters per year, and declined afterwards. Today, it is at around 15 billion cubic meters, less than half than the peak value. We also learn that most of this water, 90% at the peak, came from non renewable aquifers. end...
If this source is good, or where they quote the sources from, may be better, but now the statement seems sourced - skip sievert (talk) 15:51, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks skip, but even that source you quoted uses the more uncertain phrasing ... "reached a peak" ... "may have reached peak water". My edit only reflected this lack of certainty, rather than declaring that it surely was peak water. Don't you think we should avoid declaring something that no scientist would be willing to declare with such certainty? Gigs (talk) 16:09, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Looks good now with the specific attribution, Thanks! Gigs (talk) 16:16, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Well I rephrased it a bit... maybe it is better now but go ahead and tear into it for neutral aspect and so forth. A scientist would indeed 'declare' something if it appeared pretty certain to be a 'fact' - It appears that the water there can be measured accurately... and that leads to data... that data can be quantified and judging done... scientifically. The peak idea has pretty much gone from theory to fact as far as I can tell... but maybe, it can be phrased better... and have at it. Thanks. I think the source says has reached a peak and I think I changed it to had for continuity and presentation. skip sievert (talk) 16:26, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Gigs, you can clearly see the peak in the graph for the same section. The curve looks like the classic Hubbert peak curve. Even will all the desalination plants Saudi Arabia has, they are not able to deliver water at the rate it was being pumped out of the ground at the peak. They have had to quit irrigating their agriculture and import vegetables instead. Food grown with desalinated water is much more expensive than importing food from Skip, I agree with the expansion of the text. It makes it clear that the peak has officially been declared.  kgrr talk 17:43, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
kgrr, I have no problem with the current text, but be careful not to extrapolate with your own point of view. There is no such thing as an "official declaration" of peak anything. Gigs (talk) 22:38, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Gigs, it's something like declaring a bull or bear market. All the evidence is there. And, yes, it did not exactly come with the Crown Prince's official proclamation. But it's very hard denying the hard evidence. And to be perfectly clear, I did not extrapolate anything when I first wrote the section on Saudi Arabia in February 2009. I simply mentioned that peak water did occur and gave a reference to Abderrahman's paper. When the water is mined out of an aquifer that does not recharge, it's simply gone.  kgrr talk 03:15, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Excessive fact tags[edit]

Grundle2600, you keep insisting on putting fact tags into "At last resort, population in a given hot stain, or an area where fresh water has been depleted, should be limited. [citation needed] If necessary entire communities need to be relocalized to where there is water. [citation needed]" These are really both obvious and don't need supporting statements. What is your real objection here? If there is no water for them to drink, they will die within a half of a week. If they don't have water for hygiene, they will get sick. What are the alternatives? We don't bother supporting things like 1+1=2 with a reference. Why do these two sentences need references (other than to try to pester me some more with your ultra-libertarian right view point)? Why don't you make the change rather than drive-by tagging.

If it is a last resort situation, the option of desalination has already been considered. Desalination only works close to a large body of renewable water, where people can afford it. People living on $1 a day budget cannot afford desalinated water. Yes, $1 per day. At 1,700 cubic meters per person per year, people are said to live in water stress. 1,700 cu meters at 50 cents per cu meters is $850. This is 2.3 times what many people make in one year. Some 2.6 billion people still struggle to make do at this marginal income level.

Please see Template:Fact and consider the following. "Many editors object to what they perceive as overuse of this tag, particularly in what is known as "drive-by" tagging, which is applying the tag without attempting to address the issues at all. Consider whether adding this tag in an article is the best approach before using it, and use it judiciously." kgrr talk 01:16, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

As the article explains with a citation, Saudi Arabia pumps desalinized water 200 miles inland. So no, it's not "obvious" that people have to move to where the water is.
Why do you think that people "need" 1,700 cubic meters of water per year? In some poor countries, women walk for several miles with a bucket to carry water in every day. Do you really think those women carry 1,700 cubic meters of water every year? No one can carry that much water that far in a year. It's impossible. The real figure is probably more like about about 10 cubic meters per year. Which is about $5 per person per year. And with all the time they would save from not having to walk, they could earn a lot more than $5 by doing other things. So desalination would make them richer, not poorer.
Singapore used to be a third world country were most people lived on $1 a day. But then it developed its economy, and now it's rich enough to use desalination. Why don't you think other poor countries can do the same thing? Why do you think people have to be doomed to a life of third world poverty? Are you a luddite? Then why are you using a computer? It's a good thing that Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Norman Borlaug, and Bill Gates didn't feel that way.
I think gay marriage and marijuana should be legal, I favor ending the U.S. embargo against Cuba, I favor cutting the U.S. military budget by 80%, and I love France's socialist nuclear power. But if you want to call me "right wing," go ahead.
Grundle2600 (talk) 02:04, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I have a real eye opener for you then. The 1700 cubic meter /yr figure for water stress and 1000 cu meter /yr and below for water scarcity are very much accepted worldwide. This includes all water needs - drinking water, cooking water, water for cleaning, and washing, water for hygienic needs, water for irrigation, etc. Why don't you prove me wrong and look it up for yourself. There is no way you can survive off of 10 cubic meters per year for all of your water needs. I never said people have to be doomed to a life of poverty, I merely can tell you that a very large amount of them are. And, without adequate amounts of water, they don't stand a chance. Really poor people cannot afford a multi-million dollar desalination plant.  kgrr talk 02:50, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
I removed both fact tags. However, I added "for pre-industrial societies" as a qualifier. Grundle2600 (talk) 03:41, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Showing inputs next to outputs[edit]

Is there a chance of adding the 'water input' next to the 'water output' on the tables? It's hard to tell who is getting close to water stress without seeing the inflows and outflows, along with growth rates. Watchpup (talk) 13:50, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Table 4 shows the water withdrawl and the water supply side by side. The countries with red are draining the reserves faster than they are replenishing them. kgrr talk 06:13, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

In 'Health problems' it is said that silver is a toxic metal. This is surely not the case. Indeed silver has got anti-bacterial properties. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:30, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Silver is toxic to all living cells. This is *why* it has anti-bacterial properties. kgrr talk 06:08, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Uncertainties in proofreading[edit]

Several months ago, when I proofread this article, I had these two questions.

-- Wavelength (talk) 23:45, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

There is no problem with the number of significant digits, nor is there a problem with "quintillion". I guess, I could have written 326 million trillion gallons. kgrr talk 06:34, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Qanghai -> Qinghai typo. kgrr talk 06:34, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

[I am revising my message of 23:45, 12 September 2009 (UTC). -- Wavelength (talk) 16:11, 13 September 2009 (UTC)]
Here is a third area of uncertainty.

  • In the section Peak water#Libya, there is a possible internal contradiction. "Libya is working on a network of water pipelines to import water, called the Great Manmade River. It carries water from wells tapping fossil water in the Sahara desert to the cities of Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirt and others. Their water also comes from desalination plants." The first sentence implies that the network has not yet begun to import water, but the second sentence speaks about water already being carried.

-- Wavelength (talk) 01:10, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

The Great Manmade River has started to carry water, but it's not complete. kgrr talk 06:34, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Glad This Article is NPOV[edit]

"Like peak oil, peak water is inevitable given the rate of extraction. A current argument is that civilisation, man's preferred way of living for the past six thousand years, is intrinsically thirsty and large populations hoping to enjoy 'civilised' life styles explains why groundwater is being exhausted so quickly.[7]"

Nice —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:06, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

US peak water was in 1970[edit]

US hit peak water in 1970 and nobody noticed TRS-80 (talk) 14:57, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Another equation[edit]

this youtube video by Albert A. Bartlett has an equation at 4:36 which differs from others here. its called the "Expiration Time or "T sub E", of a non-renewable resource whose rate of consumption is growing steadily". I think its highly relevant to all of the articles on peak resource use and limits to growth. If anyone else thinks his equation is relevant, can they transcribe it? the math is beyond me, and i cant reconstruct it from the image on screen.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 02:07, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

This article is POV - way too pessimistic[edit]

So I have added the following to the introduction, which pretty much negates the entire article:

The earth has 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water[1]. With 7 billion people, the earth has 46 billion gallons of water per person. This water is infinitely recyclable. Israel is now desalinizing water at a cost of US$0.53 per cubic meter.[2] Singapore is desalinizing water for US$0.49 per cubic meter.[3] After being desalinized at Jubail, Saudi Arabia, water is pumped 200 miles (320 km) inland though a pipeline to the capital city of Riyadh.[4] According to MSNBC, a report by Lux Research estimated that the worldwide desalinated water supply will triple between 2008 and 2020.[5]

Ss6j81avz (talk) 06:11, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

Fantastic research! I have moved it lower in the introduction as I feel that the 'Peak Water' article should be mostly about the concept that fresh water is scarce. I also think that there should only be a sentence in the introduction about desalination and then your paragraph as a new section to the article. Thanks very much for your edits ツStacey (talk) 09:31, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
I have removed this addition. Most of the text was lifted from the section on Backstop water sources further down the article. The statement about how much (salt) water is is available is irrelevant, since the article is about fresh water. No one is claiming there is a shortage of salt water. However, the article may be somewhat unbalanced in the manner it presents the prospects for fresh water. Perhaps the article could indicate more clearly that the somewhat bleak outlook may be less bleak if advances in water desalination efficiencies continue. --Epipelagic (talk) 10:44, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

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Lack of Definition[edit]

This article never defines peak water. Is that not a significant omission.Bill (talk) 04:43, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

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  1. ^ How much water is there on Earth?, How Stuff Works
  2. ^ "French-run water plant launched in Israel,", December 28, 2005
  3. ^ Black & Veatch-Designed Desalination Plant Wins Global Water Distinction,, May 4, 2006
  4. ^ Desalination is the Solution to Water Shortages, redOrbit, May 2, 2008
  5. ^ A Rising Tide for New Desalinated Water Technologies, MSNBC, March. 17, 2009