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Water: Blue Gold promises to monetize water wealth?

So far, climate change has reached Lebanon snow fall rate: snow thickness and duration is diminishing every year and our ground water supply will take serious hits.

Mind you that domestic and agricultural demand is estimated to increase respectively by 5% and 3 percent annually.

Elias Sakr published in The Daily Star this Dec. 11, 2013:

Blue Gold promises to monetize water wealth

BEIRUT: Despite an annual rainfall average of 8 billion cubic meters, Lebanon posted a deficit of 73 million cubic meters in water supply in 2011, according to the latest available official statistics.

Yet, the country could reverse the trend and generate more than $600 million from a water surplus by 2020 if a comprehensive national strategy to reform the sector is implemented, according to the Blue Gold initiative launched Tuesday.

The Blue Gold project is a five-year plan for the management of the water sector in Lebanon, initiated by the Civic Influence Hub – a lobbying group of leading business people – with the support of more than 40 water experts.

“In addition to ensuring the daily needs of the citizens from the water, the Blue Gold project aims to introduce the concept of converting our surplus of water from a consumption need to a national economic wealth,” said expert Fahd Saccal, a member of the CIH steering committee.

However, the failure to take immediate action is forecast to result in a deficit of 876 million cubic meters in water supply by 2020 as domestic and agricultural demand is estimated to increase by 5 percent and 3 percent annually, the study showed.

Due to inefficient management, Lebanon makes use of only 17% of its available water, said Saccal, who outlined the strategic aspects of the Blue Gold project before hundreds of participants attending the launch event at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut.

Out of 2.7 billion cubic meters of available water through eight aquifers and 17 perennial rivers fed by more than 2,000 springs, Lebanon makes use of only 1.4 billion cubic meters, with agriculture being the primary driver at 55 percent of the total demand, the study showed.

The rest of the water is lost in storage, due to Lebanon’s soil that drains water from dams; in distribution, due to depleted pipes or a lack of connection to storage facilities; and misuse, due to archaic irrigation methods and lack of water consumption discipline.

The Blue Gold project outlines work on all three fronts to exceed demand with a surplus of 500 million cubic meters through its 2015-20 first phase, estimated at a total cost of $5 billion.

The plan includes reforestation, new water recycling plants, repairing the distribution system, drilling public wells and constructing 11 new dams.

The surplus water would generate more than $600 million if used in exports and bottling industries, while the rehabilitation of water distribution networks would save $310 million in technical losses, the study forecast.

The socio-economic impact of the Blue Gold initiative extends to households, providing water on a 24-hour basis while decreasing the average annual water bill by 40 percent from the current $700 per person to $380, according to Wafaa Saab, another member of the CIH steering committee.

Households in Beirut are the most dependent on private water suppliers for both drinking and domestic use since a large number of neighborhoods in the capital only receive three hours of water per day during dry seasons. (We pay two bills for water and electricity: one bill for the private providers and the public services)

Saab added that the project would also cut the bill of tourism enterprises by 30 percent, decreasing the hotels’ average yearly water bills from $50,000 to $35,000, according to the study.

On a national level, Saab said the project would save around $800 million in health expenditures caused by water pollution, which represents 2 percent of GDP, and would boost the productivity of the agricultural sector by 20 percent.

“Blue Gold will create in the first phase more than 3,000 permanent jobs and 40,0000 seasonal jobs and encourage people to stay in their communities,” Saab said.

The Blue Gold national water plan is to be funded by international institutions and public-private partnerships to ease the burden on the indebted state Treasury and generate profits for the government from public-private partnership projects, according to CIH.

The private sector would be able to earn an annual profit of12 percent from service-provider contracts, according to the proposal that allows Lebanese citizens to invest in the water sector through crowd funding and receive a minimum annual return of 12 percent after taxes.

“Leveraging the concept of PPP in all sectors that tackle daily needs of citizens should be distanced from political tendencies and monopoly and should be influenced by science, qualification and efficiency, with the concept of involving citizens,” CIH CEO Ziad Sayegh said.

While the Blue Gold project looks promising, according to experts, the road ahead for its implementation remains a long one that requires first the drafting and ratification of a law to regulate the water sector in Lebanon.

“With these obstacles in mind, we are determined not to fail, but our bet is to convince the decision-makers to give priority to the national wealth,” CIH board member Elie Gebrayel said.

“We are in the stage of completing the draft law establishing the National Council for Water, which we propose as a new model of partnership between the public and private sectors on one hand, and Lebanese citizens on the other hand,” Gebrayel added.

The two other phases of the Blue Gold will be implemented over a medium- and long-term interval extending from 2020 to 2030 and beyond.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 11, 2013, on page 5.

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

The Solar System and Beyond is Awash in Water

April 7, 2015

As NASA missions explore our solar system and search for new worlds, they are finding water in surprising places. Water is but one piece of our search for habitable planets and life beyond Earth, yet it links many seemingly unrelated worlds in surprising ways.

“NASA science activities have provided a wave of amazing findings related to water in recent years that inspire us to continue investigating our origins and the fascinating possibilities for other worlds, and life, in the universe,” said Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for the agency. “In our lifetime, we may very well finally answer whether we are alone in the solar system and beyond.”

This illustration depicts the best-known candidates in our search for life in the solar system
Earth isn’t the only ocean world in our solar system.
Oceans could exist in diverse forms on moons and dwarf planets, offering clues in the quest to discover life beyond our home planet.
This illustration depicts the best known candidates in our search for life in the solar system.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The chemical elements in water, hydrogen and oxygen, are some of the most abundant elements in the universe. Astronomers see the signature of water in giant molecular clouds between the stars, in disks of material that represent newborn planetary systems, and in the atmospheres of giant planets orbiting other stars.

There are several worlds thought to possess liquid water beneath their surfaces, and many more that have water in the form of ice or vapor.

Water is found in primitive bodies like comets and asteroids, and dwarf planets like Ceres.

The atmospheres and interiors of the four giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — are thought to contain enormous quantities of the wet stuff, and their moons and rings have substantial water ice.

Perhaps the most surprising water worlds are the 5 icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn that show strong evidence of oceans beneath their surfaces: Ganymede, Europa and Callisto at Jupiter, and Enceladus and Titan at Saturn.

Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope recently provided powerful evidence that Ganymede has a saltwater, sub-surface ocean, likely sandwiched between two layers of ice.

Europa and Enceladus are thought to have an ocean of liquid water beneath their surface in contact with mineral-rich rock, and may have the 3 ingredients needed for life as we know it: liquid water, essential chemical elements for biological processes, and sources of energy that could be used by living things.

NASA’s Cassini mission has revealed Enceladus as an active world of icy geysers. Recent research suggests it may have hydrothermal activity on its ocean floor, an environment potentially suitable for living organisms.

NASA spacecraft have also found signs of water in permanently shadowed craters on Mercury and our moon, which hold a record of icy impacts across the ages like cryogenic keepsakes.

While our solar system may seem drenched in some places, others seem to have lost large amounts of water.

On Mars, NASA spacecraft have found clear evidence that the Red Planet had water on its surface for long periods in the distant past. NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover discovered an ancient streambed that existed amidst conditions favorable for life as we know it.

More recently, NASA scientists using ground-based telescopes were able to estimate the amount of water Mars has lost over the eons. They concluded the planet once had enough liquid water to form an ocean occupying almost half of Mars’ northern hemisphere, in some regions reaching depths greater than a mile (1.6 kilometers).

But where did the water go?

It’s clear some of it is in the Martian polar ice caps and below the surface. We also think much of Mars’ early atmosphere was stripped away by the wind of charged particles that streams from the sun, causing the planet to dry out. NASA’s MAVEN mission is hard at work following this lead from its orbit around Mars.

The story of how Mars dried out is intimately connected to how the Red Planet’s atmosphere interacts with the solar wind. Data from the agency’s solar missions — including STEREO,

Solar Dynamics Observatory and the planned Solar Probe Plus — are vital to helping us better understand what happened.

Understanding the distribution of water in our solar system tells us a great deal about how the planets, moons, comets and other bodies formed 4.5 billion years ago from the disk of gas and dust that surrounded our sun.

The space closer to the sun was hotter and drier than the space farther from the sun, which was cold enough for water to condense. The dividing line, called the “frost line,” sat around Jupiter’s present-day orbit.

Even today, this is the approximate distance from the sun at which the ice on most comets begins to melt and become “active.” Their brilliant spray releases water ice, vapor, dust and other chemicals, which are thought to form the bedrock of most worlds of the frigid outer solar system.

Scientists think it was too hot in the solar system’s early days for water to condense into liquid or ice on the inner planets, so it had to be delivered — possibly by comets and water-bearing asteroids.

NASA’s Dawn mission is currently studying Ceres, which is the largest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Researchers think Ceres might have a water-rich composition similar to some of the bodies that brought water to the three rocky, inner planets, including Earth.

The amount of water in the giant planet Jupiter holds a critical missing piece to the puzzle of our solar system’s formation. Jupiter was likely the first planet to form, and it contains most of the material that wasn’t incorporated into the sun.

The leading theories about its formation rest on the amount of water the planet soaked up. To help solve this mystery, NASA’s Juno mission will measure this important quantity beginning in mid-2016.

Looking further afield, observing other planetary systems as they form is like getting a glimpse of our own solar system’s baby pictures, and water is a big part of that story.

For example, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has observed signs of a hail of water-rich comets raining down on a young solar system, much like the bombardment planets in our solar system endured in their youth.

With the study of exoplanets — planets that orbit other stars — we are closer than ever to finding out if other water-rich worlds like ours exist. In fact, our basic concept of what makes planets suitable for life is closely tied to water: Every star has a habitable zone, or a range of distances around it in which temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist.

NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler mission was designed with this in mind. Kepler looks for planets in the habitable zone around many types of stars.

Recently verifying its thousandth exoplanet, Kepler data confirm that the most common planet sizes are worlds just slightly larger than Earth.

Astronomers think many of those worlds could be entirely covered by deep oceans. Kepler’s successor, K2, continues to watch for dips in starlight to uncover new worlds.

The agency’s upcoming TESS mission will search nearby, bright stars in the solar neighborhood for Earth- and super-Earth-sized exoplanets. Some of the planets TESS discovers may have water, and NASA’s next great space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, will examine the atmospheres of those special worlds in great detail.

It’s easy to forget that the story of Earth’s water, from gentle rains to raging rivers, is intimately connected to the larger story of our solar system and beyond.

But our water came from somewhere — every world in our solar system got its water from the same shared source. So it’s worth considering that the next glass of water you drink could easily have been part of a comet, or an ocean moon, or a long-vanished sea on the surface of Mars.

And note that the night sky may be full of exoplanets formed by similar processes to our home world, where gentle waves wash against the shores of alien seas.

Patsy Z shared this link

Liquid water is almost impossible to find in the rest of the solar system. So why does Earth have so much of it?
(via TED-Ed)

The ancient origins of water on Earth.

For more information about NASA’s exploration of the solar system and beyond, visit:

What’s of water? From “A short history of everything” by Bill Bryson. Part 4

Water is everywhere. A potato is 80% water, a cow 74%, a bacterium 75%, a tomato at 95%, and human 65%.

Most liquid when chilled contract 10% but water only 1%, and just before freezing it expands.

Solid water is 10% more voluminous, an utterly bizarre property which allow ice to float, otherwise ice would sink and oceans would freeze from the bottom.

Without surface ice to hold heat in, the water warmth would radiate away and thus creating more ice and soon oceans would freeze.

Water is defying the rules of chemistry and law of physics.

The hydrogen atoms cling fiercely to their oxygen host, but also make casual bonds with other water molecules, thus changing partners billions of times a second and thus, water molecules stick together and can be siphoned without breaking but not so tightly so that you may dive into a pool.

Surface water molecules are attracted more powerfully to the like molecule beneath and beside them than to the air molecule above ,so that it creates a sort of membrane that supports insects.

All but the smallest fraction of the water on Earth is poisonous to us because of the salts within it.

Uncannily, the proportions of the various salts in our body are similar to those in sea water; we cry sea water, and we sweat sea water but we cannot tolerate sea water as an input!

Salt in the body provoke a crisis because from every cell, water molecules rush off to dilute and carry off the sudden intake of salt.

The oceans have achieved their present volume of 1.3 billion cubic kilometer of water and it is a closed system.

The Pacific holds 52% of the 97% of all the water on Earth.  The remaining 3% of fresh water exist as ice sheet; Antarctica holds 90% of the planet’s ice, standing on over 2 miles of ice.

If Antarctica is to completely melt, the ocean would rise about 70 meters.




September 2022

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