Saturday 27th of February 2021

of water...

When Edgar Terry walks his fields in the morning, there's one thing on his mind: water. The 61-year-old farmer owns 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of land — a total of 12 fields with bell pepper, strawberries, spinach, celery and cilantro that have to be watered all year round.

His family has run the Terry Farms for 126 years. This long-established farming company in Ventura County is located about an hour's drive north of Los Angeles, California, where water is often scarce. "I think about water every day of the week, especially now because we're in a drought," Terry told DW.

Some 2,000 miles (2,320 kilometers) east of Ventura County, Chicago has set out to fight water scarcity. At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the world's biggest futures exchange, investors usually speculate on assets such as oil, wood or aluminum.

Water futures added


But since early December, investors have been able to trade the Nasdaq Veles California Index, where the prices of water usage rights are reflected in so-called water futures. Futures are derivative financial contracts that obligate the parties to transact an asset at a predetermined future date and price.

What's important is that the buyer must purchase or the seller must sell the underlying asset at the set price, regardless of the current market price at the expiration date. Such contracts are meant to help farmers simplify their calculations.

Municipal companies and utilities could also stand to profit from water futures, the CME argues. In California where water is scarce, water prices often soar overnight because of wildfires or droughts.

Costs for the next six months can be estimated only roughly, as Nasdaq Senior Manager Patrick Wolf told Bloomberg. He's in charge of the futures in California, the United States' largest water market.

Farmers like Edgar Terry believe the Wall Street initiative might come in handy. When a drought is on the horizon, they could secure enough water in time at reasonable prices. Terry, who in a side job is a professor of finance at California Lutheran University, says the futures could enable him to secure today's prices for tomorrow's supplies.

In neighboring Kern County, farmers have for decades aimed to use wastewater from oil and gas mining for their fields during protracted periods of drought. There, recycled water already accounts for up to 30% of the annual irrigation budget. According to the LA Times, oil giant Chevron alone delivered over 20 million gallons (76 million liters) of wastewater to farmers in Kern County in 2015.

Consumer risks


However, scientists and environmentalists have been warning of health hazards for consumers, because even after the purification process, traces of harmful chemicals such as arsenic as well as some poisonous substances and radioactive elements remain in the water.

But experts are likewise skeptical about water futures, saying it raises ethical questions about whether such an essential element for human life like water should be tradable at all.

"We need to think now about the potential direct and indirect negative consequences of treating water as an asset rather than a resource," the former chief executive of FIA Europe, Simon Puleston Jones, told the Financial Times. (FIA is the US Futures Industry Association). The expert fears prices may go up considerably, and speculation might occur, impacting the poor.

According to the United Nations, more than 2.2 billion people across the world lack access to clean drinking water. It fears that the situation will be exacerbated in the wake of water-price speculation instruments.

"I'm very concerned that water is now being treated as gold, oil and other commodities that are traded on the Wall Street futures market," said UN Special Rapporteur Pedro Arrojo-Aguda, adding that water futures trading jeopardizes the access to water as a human right.

Provoking a crisis?


 Speculators have triggered food crises before. Between 2008 and 2010, hedge funds bet on rising cocoa prices and thus eventually drove up the price for cocoa beans by a staggering 150%. Financial speculators also contributed to the price of wheat and soybeans soaring in 2007 and 2008, which triggered famine and social unrest in developing countries.

But the Chicago exchange is trying to calm people down, saying the water futures would only be traded regionally and in small quantities and that the majority of all Californian water rights are in the hands of utilities anyway. In addition, it says, it's all about "financially settled contracts," meaning that no water is flowing anywhere, as the only thing that really happens is cash settlements.

This is to prevent investors with large storage capacities from causing an artificial water scarcity in pursuit of profits from rising prices.

For farmers like Edgar Terry, water futures thus appear to be useless. "We need wet water, not paper water," he said. This is why he chooses to rely on his own initiative that he launched a couple of years ago to combat water scarcity — the Fox Canyon Groundwater Market, a local trading system for farmers.

That marketplace for selling and buying water is possible because the strict water usage rights and regulations in California are confined to water from rivers, creeks and lakes. But thanks to Terry, farmers can sell or pass on excess water they pump up from the ground of their own land. That is to say that the concept of trading water has long materialized there, albeit on a strictly regional level.

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good things to those who don’t deserve them...

Throughout the Scriptures, wine is symbolic of God’s grace and our resultant joy (cf. Deut. 7:1–13Jer. 31:5–12Isa. 25:6–9Joel 3:18). Unlike water, wine is unnecessary for life. Its superfluity is a picture of God’s superabundant grace. That is to say, our Lord is the kind of God who loves to give good things to those who don’t deserve them, superfluous gifts like “wine to gladden the heart of man” (Ps. 104:15).

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Our quest today is not a religious one, unless you consider "playing the stock market" as a religion… Next, they and god will charge you to breathe pure air... Gus is a rabid atheist.

fresh water is not equally distributed throughout the world...



In modern America, we have access to clean, fresh water every day. Each time we turn on the tap, plumbing systems instantly bring this important resource into our homes. Despite its importance for life, though, fresh water is an extremely rare resource on Earth. Less than 3 percent of the water found on Earth is fresh water, and the remaining 97 percent is salt water, such as what is found in the ocean.


Most of the world’s fresh water is not easily accessible to humans. Approximately 69 percent of Earth’s freshwater is locked away in the form of ice in glaciers and polar ice caps, and another 30 percent of Earth’s fresh water is under the surface in the form of groundwater. That leaves only about 1 percent of Earth’s fresh water as readily available for human use.


Unfortunately, the available surface fresh water is not equally distributed throughout the world. Brazil, Russia, Canada, Indonesia, China, Columbia, and the United States have most of the world’s surface freshwater resources. As a result, approximately one-fifth of the world’s population lives in water scarce areas where, on average, each person receives less than 1,000 cubic meters (35,315 cubic feet) of water a year. This lack of water affects people’s access to clean, usable water, as well as the economic development and geopolitics of different areas.


Access to Water


Because freshwater resources are unequally distributed across the globe, many human populations do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. According to the United Nations, 2.1 billion people around the globe lacked access to safely managed drinking water in 2017. Instead, they had access only to contaminated water, which can carry pollution and infectious diseases; populations drinking dirty water are at increased risk of diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, and other diseases. Lack of access to clean drinking water leads to more than 3 million deaths every year.


As a result, providing improved water sources to developing countries is an important goal for international organizations. Between 1990 and 2015, 2.6 billion people worldwide gained access to improved water resources as a result of international efforts. The remaining human populations still without access to clean water are concentrated mostly in Africa and Asia, representing nearly 1 billion people.


Economic Development


Access to fresh water is also important for economic development. For example, freshwater sources enable the development of fisheries. People around the world harvest fish from these habitats, providing enough animal protein to feed 158 million people worldwide. These fisheries are both a source of subsistence for local fishermen and a source of income for traders.


Beyond the use of fresh water as a habitat, fresh water is also an important resource in other economic activities, such as agriculture. According to one estimate, about 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is used for agriculture. Farmers around the world use irrigation to transport water from surface and ground water sources to their fields. These agricultural activities involve over 1 billion people worldwide and generate over $2.4 trillion in economic value every year. In the future, demand for agricultural fresh water will only increase as global populations grow. According to one estimate, freshwater demand will increase by 50 percent by 2050. This increase in water use will put further strain on Earth’s limited freshwater supplies and make access to fresh water even more important.




The fight over fresh water can already be seen today in international geopolitics. For example, Ethiopia and Egypt have long fought over Nile water resources in the Horn of Africa. The Nile River is an important waterway that supplies nearly 85 percent of Egypt’s water. However, approximately 85 percent of the Nile’s water originates in Ethiopia. Because Ethiopia is planning to dam part of the Nile river in order to generate electricity, Egypt is concerned that their access to the Nile’s waters will be adversely impacted. Although the disagreement has not yet turned into open conflict, it is clear that securing this important freshwater resource will define Ethiopian-Egyptian relations for many years in the future.


These conflicts over water resources are common throughout the world. Even in the United States, where freshwater resources are relatively abundant, different populations fight over the use of fresh water. One major debate that is currently being waged centers on the Colorado River system. This water system supplies water to Arizona, California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, but due to a drought that has reduced water flow in this river system, these seven states need to decide how to reduce water usage in order to preserve the river for all the other users. As populations grow, and as climate change alters precipitation patterns around the world, these conflicts over water will continue to occur, and with greater frequency, in the future.



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turning water into wine in austraila...

Irrigating vineyards at night during heatwaves can reduce fruit losses by 30 per cent, a scientific study has shown.

The project has run at a vineyard in the Riverland, Australia’s largest wine grape growing region, the past two Australian summers.

It is scientifically proving the most effective and efficient methods of protecting grapes from heat damage such as leaf scorch, reduction in grape quality and lower yields.

Vignerons have long suspected that hot nights were as much to blame for heat damage as hot days, particularly after three or four consecutive days of scorching heat.

Principal Scientist with the South Australian Research Development Institute Mike McCarthy is leading the project, which is funded by Wine Australia via the University of Adelaide.

The original project began in 2014 and installed under-canopy sprinkler systems at sites in the Riverland and Coonawarra to provide an evaporative cooling effect for the vines.

The results were surprising.


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