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FUBAR II: China Must Import More Water Than The US Imports Oil

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

In one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted of China’s bubblicious property market, Professor Gan Li at Texas A&M University estimates that there are a whopping 49 million vacant homes in China right now.

As a percentage, this is twice the vacancy rate that the US housing market experienced at the peak of its recent bubble… suggesting that China has a rather painful housing collapse in store.

This should be a brutal blow to the economy given that housing comprised 15% of GDP last year. And the slowdown is already apparent.

In fact, China’s president Xi Jinping uncharacteristically announced a ‘new normal’ recently, declaring the heady days of 10% GDP growth to be over. His vision of China is moderate growth and less stimulus.

But I’ve identified a far greater problem for China… one that few people are talking about. And frankly I’m not sure they can fix it.

We discussed earlier that China does not have the capacity to feed itself. By the estimates of one state official, the country’s agricultural imports require more land to grow than the entire land mass of California.

The reasons are simple. For one, China doesn’t have enough fertile land in production to support its population’s growing food demand.

Theoretically this is fixable. With a bit of time, patience, and technology, barren soil can be rehabilitated In other words, China doesn’t have enough enough productive land capacity to support its population.

But the far greater issue is China’s massive freshwater deficiency.

Chief Economist Qian Keming of China’s Agriculture Ministry summed it up by telling the audience at the Third China International Agribusiness Forum:

“Fresh water resources are only 2100 cubic meters per capita, which is only 28% of the world’s average level.”




“The shortage of [water for agricultural irrigation] each year is about 30 billion cubic meters. China imported about 148.6 billion cubic meters of water in 2013, which was equivalent to 38% of China’s agricultural water.”

Here’s that number in perspective: China water imports of 148.6 billion cubic meters last year handily exceeded the 569 MILLION (0.569 billion) cubic meters of oil that the United States imported.

Water is THE critical resource in agriculture. Without it, you’re not producing. This makes China’s deficiency a long-term headwind to their food production dilemma.

It’s not something they can import their way out of either, because all of this comes at a time of flat (and even declining) yields, particularly from the world’s largest food exporter… which just happens to be the United States of America.

After decades of growth, grain yields in the US have topped out. Farmers have managed to extract all that the earth is capable of providing.

Many developing markets are no help either. Most people don’t realize that Africa, despite its legendary agricultural potential, is actually a net importer of food.

So between the supply constraints and the constantly growing demand, it’s clear where this trend is going.

The BEST possible scenario to unfold is rising food prices. The worst case could be shortages.

All of this is potentially destabilizing. History shows that while human beings will put up with a lot of sacrifices at the behest of their governments, starvation is not one of them.

This approaching ‘food crunch’ is the reason why agriculture is THE investment for the next decade and beyond.

But more importantly, it’s another gigantic nail in the coffin for the status quo. And there are plenty more.

Nearly every ‘developed’ western nation is bankrupt. Most major central banks are insolvent… and they’ve created bubbles everywhere. The century-old monetary experiment is starting to draw to a hasty, inevitable conclusion.

Meanwhile apathy is at high tide. You can see it in voting booths and streetside revolutions around the world– people are sick and tired of the status quo… of thieving politicians… of war… of getting spied on… of being told what they can/cannot put in their bodies.

They’re finally now starting to wake up and demand real changes– not just changing the players in charge, but changing the game itself.

Politicians will fight with every resource they have to maintain the status quo. But in conjunction with the fundamentals of food, the confluence of all these forces together is more than any system can possibly withstand.

It might not be today. It might not be this decade. But at some point in our future, there will be a complete reset in the way society organizes and governs itself.

Just make sure you’re wearing your seat belt.


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Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:17 | 4869675 Slave
Slave's picture

Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:19 | 4869684 Decolat
Decolat's picture


Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:25 | 4869718 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

no brainer. hold the melamine and drink the milk

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:28 | 4869738 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

Does the imported water come with bloated pig flavor, or do they have to add that in country?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:53 | 4869894 Say What Again
Say What Again's picture

We have food.  We have Water.

We do NOT need any more of their plastic crap.  We do NOT need any more of their diseases.  We do NOT need any more of their pollution.

What am I missing here?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:10 | 4869996 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Just who are 'we'?

I prefer to make my own choices.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:15 | 4870016 Say What Again
Say What Again's picture

OK.  go to the other team.  We don't need you.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:34 | 4870115 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Spoken like a true humant.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:59 | 4871088 max2205
max2205's picture

Drain tbe Lice paddy's! ...solved

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 02:55 | 4872635 SF beatnik
SF beatnik's picture

Is there some way we can sell them some fucking water and get ourselves out of debt?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:36 | 4870113 oddjob
oddjob's picture

What am I missing here?

a good look at Lake Mead.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:01 | 4870229 masterinchancery
masterinchancery's picture

Bad soil is not fixable in less than centuries....same with groundwater.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:11 | 4870299 _disengage_
_disengage_'s picture

Howard Finnel, P.A. Yeomans, Bill Mollison and a long list of others can show you that soil can be made VERY quickly.

Essentially you make compost from just about everything organic or allow the vegetation to die in place and plow it into the ground. You can take literally "dead" shales and turn the into black soil a foot deep in 3-4 years with Yeoman's Keylin Plan.

Here is Yeoman fixing soil in the 50s:

This is just one little aspect of what became permaculture.

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 02:22 | 4872604 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

and earthworms.  don't forget them.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:05 | 4870248 _disengage_
_disengage_'s picture

Everyone has water. Look at how Australia uses rainwater to great success. Everyone has a cistern/filter.

For agriculture you use swales to capture the rain that falls on the land, not letting in flow off/erode. This water soaks into the land and is available long after the rain stops. It moves slowly underground and after a few years spring can pop out downhill.

Howard Finnell solved these problems in the 1930s dustbowl. P.A. Yeomans refined them into the Keyline System and invented a new plow. Holmgren and Mollison started putting the techniques together into Permaculture. Today people like Brad Landcaster in Arizona are literally regreening deserts.

It seems to need about 4" of rain per year to get a system growing again, the more the better. Once a desert is reforested it will retain moisture and therefore evaporate longer. This evaporation will become rainfall downwind. IE you can sort of "chain" islands of green that will make their own rain.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:27 | 4870689 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

If what you say is true, Brad Lancaster needs to keep a low profile.  The BLM will come armed to the teeth to rescue the endangered desert cheese snail and place all of his "green" land under their protection.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:50 | 4871058 FearLess_FLY
FearLess_FLY's picture

Here in Colorado USA, it is illegal to collect rainwater. The state government passed a law and declared that all rainwater belongs to the state.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:57 | 4871081 WmMcK
WmMcK's picture

So I'm an outlaw -- call the HOA / police

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:57 | 4871085 max2205
max2205's picture

Don't feel bad, in MD they tax rain water...LOL!

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:53 | 4869899 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Yet another reason we do not have to worry about China.  We do not have to worry about Russia either.  Nor Brazil nor India.

We can solve all BRIC issues with diplomacy or by staying out of their business.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:22 | 4870042 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

What?  You crazy!  That doesn't kill enough people to keep the cosmic balance in order.


Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:52 | 4870201 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Wait!  Lemme check...  Yes, my tinfoil hat is still on.  Really tight too.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:13 | 4870922 Metalredneck
Metalredneck's picture

Shiny side out, dude...

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:25 | 4870060 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Technology, she is changing.

China leads the world in greenhouse use and the advent of LEDs tuned to the color, intensity and timing will bring about much improved efficiencies.

The Israelis developed a containerized computer-run cropping system that could produce 180,000 heads of lettuce from about 400 sq. ft. each year. It bathed the plants in light for up to 22 hours per day.

Food production is heading towards another revolution.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:42 | 4870149 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Except it doesn't matter how many heads of lettuce you have, because lettuce has ZERO nutritional value worth mentioning. 

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:29 | 4870393 NuckingFuts
NuckingFuts's picture

Vegetable farming is my livelihood. I make a lot of money on lettuce and completely agree, it has NO nutritional value, can not be stored long term and would be the last thing I grew if my survival depended on it.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:04 | 4870871 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Mostly wrong. If you are talking about macronutrients that the lardasses don't need, you are correct. But for micronutrients, you are completely wrong. This is for THIRTEEN calories of lettuce:

Lettuce (butterhead)Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 55 kJ (13 kcal)

Carbohydrates 2.23 g
Sugars 0.94
Dietary fibre 1.1 g

Fat 0.22 g

Protein 1.35 g

Vitamin A equiv.
lutein zeaxanthin (21%)
166 ?g
1987 ?g
1223 ?g
Thiamine (B1) (5%)
0.057 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (5%)
0.062 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (3%)
0.15 mg
Vitamin B6 (6%)
0.082 mg
Folate (B9) (18%)
73 ?g
Vitamin C (4%)
3.7 mg
Vitamin E (1%)
0.18 mg
Vitamin K (97%)
102.3 ?g

Trace metals
Calcium (4%)
35 mg
Iron (10%)
1.24 mg
Magnesium (4%)
13 mg
Manganese (9%)
0.179 mg
Phosphorus (5%)
33 mg
Potassium (5%)
238 mg
Sodium (0%)
5 mg
Zinc (2%)
0.2 mg

Other constituents
Water 95.63 g

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:05 | 4870251 potato
potato's picture

vertical agriculture is the future. Lettuce is just used as a comparison, since you can sell it for about $1 a head. This yields an estimate of the profitability per unit area.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:16 | 4870936 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Yes, and grocery chains could incorporate these into their central warehouses - pest free and E. coli free.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:38 | 4870463 teslaberry
teslaberry's picture

if you think you can grow any significant amount of the worlds food wtih LED's youre insane. 


Wed, 06/18/2014 - 23:11 | 4872280 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

LEDs outperform incandescent lights, hands down. But they should also give farmers unprecedented control over plant growth, development and nutritional content in future, say researchers.

It won’t come as a surprise to discover that consumers all over the developed world are increasingly demanding seasonal vegetables all year round, even when the local climate simply doesn’t allow that kind of growth. Particularly sought-after are tomatoes, cucumbers, and leaf vegetables. Which is why greenhouse farming has become a major factor in the food supply of the developed world.

Consequently, the number of commercial greenhouses and the area they occupy is rocketing. In the Netherlands, for example, greenhouses occupy around 0.25 percent of the land area of the entire country. And the Netherlands isn’t even the largest producer of greenhouse vegetables in Europe. That position is held by Spain. And the largest producer of greenhouse vegetables in the world is now China.

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 13:16 | 4874328 ajax
ajax's picture



Tomatoes from Holland are the worst, THE WORST.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:29 | 4870701 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

There those damn jews go again.  Trying to revolutionize technology for the benefit of themselves and helping the world as a byproduct.  Greedy bastards.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:27 | 4870981 mumcard
mumcard's picture

It's because they live in a fucking desert.  They're not doing it to help humans.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:27 | 4869729 Da Yooper
Da Yooper's picture

Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.

A good single mault scotch whiskey for sure


Water ?


Never touch the stuff


after all fish pee in it

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:03 | 4869943 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Have you tried rainwater in addition to your grain alcohol?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:15 | 4870928 Metalredneck
Metalredneck's picture

Those vital fluids.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:31 | 4870416 doctor10
doctor10's picture

Soooo is he trying to say Goldman Sachs is about to tranch and securitize the Columbia River?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:18 | 4869679 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

"Water is not a human right"
Nestle CEO

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:41 | 4869803 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture
Great Lakes Water To Be Sold To China As Half The U.S. Faces Extreme Water Crisis

So why are we allowing foreign corporations such as Nestle to make millions upon millions of dollars pumping water out of the Great Lakes and selling it overseas?


". . .it's a small world after all. . ."       


let's all sing!



Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:52 | 4869891 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

That and the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer which is not being recharged adequately to be sustainable. I think the USA should look to itself before castigating others.


Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:54 | 4869908 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

+ giga mt^3 !

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:24 | 4870056 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

the You-Ass-eh? corporate-entity is in the business of profiteering, and has much advertising of Brand-Amrka invested in maintaining its reality.

absolutely agree re: Ogallala Aquifer.

In the Texas Panhandle, oilman T. Boone Pickens, who several years ago bought up significant underground water resources, found that his property straddled several different groundwater districts, with varying DFCs, that lay in the fast-depleting Ogallala Aquifer. Pickens sued the state, arguing it should have put an end to what he says are conflicting rules that could devalue his water.


then there's always that ole Chinatown tale of California's Water Wars. . . 

leaving Owens Lake/Valley with a persistant, dry cough.

for the pervasive, unusually fine-grained, alkaline dust that infiltrates the smallest cracks and contaminates residences. The lake bed is probably the largest single source of PM10 dust (aerosol particles smaller than 10 microns in aerodynamic diameter) in the United States; by one estimate, 900,000-8,000,000 metric tons per year (Gill and Gillette, 1991).

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:30 | 4870403 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

Canada wastes huge amounts of water into James Bay.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 18:19 | 4871315 Abbie Normal
Abbie Normal's picture

At least the water from James Bay produces hydropower, and it eventually flows into the Hudson Bay and on to the Arctic Ocean.

Contrast that with the water used to extract the Athabasca tar sands, it goes into the earth and disappears forever.  They had to divert an entire river to feed that project and those living along what used to be downstream, now have water trucked in to them by the oil companies.

Similar "water for oil" trading going on with shale oil extraction.  So what do we trade for water when it runs low?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:53 | 4870192 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

@ alien-IQ: "Water is not a human right" -Nestle CEO

Funny you'd quote that (given your handle), since it sounds like a quote from the Alien Lizard People.  Wait, aren't there some who believe many of our leaders are Human-Lizard hybrids? 

All kidding aside, we seem to be getting really good at turning the place into a desert planet:  wipe out the rain forests, temperate forests and wetlands, pollute the rivers, eliminate arable topsoil with agrobiz practices...  And Simon's talking about China, as though they're the big culprit?  Has he gone back to the DOD/CIA reservation?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:32 | 4870713 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

Stupid is a commodity in high supply globally.  The DoD/CIA hasn't cornered the market.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:18 | 4869680 SWCroaker
SWCroaker's picture

Is the problem too little water, or too many people?   Maybe too little water is the cure/stop_mechanism for too many people?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:52 | 4869890 Seer
Seer's picture

Eventually, given our quest for perpeptual growth, we hit the wall on all key resources.  It's why I call BS on his (Simon's) statement:

"Theoretically this is fixable. With a bit of time, patience, and technology, barren soil can be rehabilitated"

With no limits on growth then it's NOT "fixable."  And, really, enough of the "techonology will save us" BS (Simon)!

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:32 | 4870104 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Without central banking (money=debt), growth would naturally be limited by reality. Instead, growth is allowed to consume the future by pulling forward demand.

So, given this, once we've consumed all that the future has to offer, technology could save us, if only we hadn't consumed it all.

They're not eating the seed corn these days so much as they're pissing in it.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:11 | 4870218 Four chan
Four chan's picture

the chinese are like the newly rich, disgusting pigs with no taste

and even less sense except for the false sense of entitlement to gobble up the world.


and people point the finger at the usa but china and india are each 650,000,000 times worse than the us in terms of consumers.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:27 | 4870383 Say What Again
Say What Again's picture

do the Chinese have access to four channel?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:02 | 4869955 Matt
Matt's picture

Or is the problem misuse of the water? Contaminating it with metals, dead animals, toxins. Farming in deserts where the water evaporates away at a tremendous rate. Too much heavy industry producing things that are unnessecary, or even unwanted, simply in response to central planner incentives. Replacing forests and fields with asphalt and cement, which in turn reduces humidity and changes rainfall patterns.

Population is already leveling off in most places, the only place projected to have a noticeable increase is Africa, and even that will level off in 50 years or so.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:13 | 4870009 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

India and Pakistan are in serious deep shit over water too.  Problem is, water scarcity issues typically lag population levels.  

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:59 | 4870219 Four chan
Four chan's picture

perfectly put you two^

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:53 | 4870828 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

Can't wait until they start fracking.  Double bounus: taking good water and stuffing it underground, then it mixes with the icky and finally saturates ground water with a bazzilion contaminants.  

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 17:24 | 4871162 Blankenstein
Blankenstein's picture


If the population continues growing at current rates there will be a person on every square meter of the earth in 700 years.  Exponential growth explained:


When 20,000 people die everyday from starvation, we do not need MORE People. 

And where is the evidence that population is "leveling off" in "most" places and that it will level off in Africa in 50 years? 


Wed, 06/18/2014 - 18:07 | 4871259 Matt
Matt's picture

Here is one of the most interesting statistician presentations I've seen, covering population and poverty:

EDIT: this one is better, but an hour long:

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 18:25 | 4871341 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

That was really cool - thanks!

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:20 | 4870035 ajax
ajax's picture



The problem is too many people but since 'unprotected' sex and thus uncontrolled procreation remain so popular: go long waterfalls and stay long waterfalls.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:18 | 4870658 Matt
Matt's picture

The problem is infant mortality. If there is a 50% chance your child will not survive birth and infancy and make it to adulthood, you may choose to have 8 children. Once you are confident they will, you cut back to 3 children, and so on.

Also poverty: poor people, especially in rural areas, tend to have lots of children as a means of labour that only needs food and shelter as payment.

Basic healthcare and education greatly reduce these problems, and then people choose contraceptives, choose fewer children.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:26 | 4870067 ajax
ajax's picture



By the way, our oceans are already utterly polluted with plastic water bottles.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:44 | 4870164 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Really? I have never seen a plastic bottle when I've gone diving to see the fish.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:19 | 4870660 Matt
Matt's picture

Thats because polymers break down until they are about the size of a plankton, then they stop breaking down and start accumulating in the food chain/web.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:20 | 4869692 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Water is the New Oil...

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:22 | 4869701 Grande Tetons
Grande Tetons's picture

How do you say drill baby brill in Chinese? 

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:38 | 4869793 dbach
dbach's picture

Hey they made it work on Tatooine. Long atmospheric water generators! ... and think of all the GDP growth from that new industry

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:28 | 4870699 Matt
Matt's picture

There are a few people already working on it for real.

Airdrop, which had a prototype but no news in 3 years:

Fog Catcher nets in Chile:

Wind Turbines that produce electricity and harvest moisture:

And there are a few solar power / desalination designs along with solar power / condenser designs.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 18:26 | 4871346 Abbie Normal
Abbie Normal's picture

My room dehumidifier produces about a gallon of water overnight.  Since the house is solar powered, that's almost like getting fresh, clean distilled water from the sun.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:34 | 4870122 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Yet another reason Libya had to be "liberated."

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:24 | 4869717 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Aquayuan deal coming up?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:35 | 4869763 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

it's been a game for a while

Jack Nicholson in ChinaTown

But you bring up a good point, we can always walk but how long can we go without water

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:54 | 4869901 Seer
Seer's picture

It's been that way in Palestine for a long time now.  It's the dirty little secret that the Israelis hide from everyone.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:23 | 4870049 ajax
ajax's picture



It's not such a secret Seer, smart people such as the late Edward Said have been yelling about Palestinian water rights for decades already...


Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:28 | 4869740 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Wow... that might be one of the most disingenuous things I have ever seen posted here...

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:55 | 4869914 Seer
Seer's picture

No, Obama is THE reason why we're all going to die, didn't you know?  He's a Kenyan Communist Muslim who hates white people!

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:20 | 4869695 alexcojones
alexcojones's picture

Where is Simon these days?

Jetting over large waters. or just kicking back in Paraguay?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:21 | 4869698 p00k1e
p00k1e's picture

This is why the Chinese are buying Detroit.  They'll run a pipe through the Earth diverting the Detroit River to Beijing. 

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:37 | 4869785 813kml
813kml's picture

It has already begun, that's what happened to all of China's missing metal.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:23 | 4869702 earnulf
earnulf's picture

The problem is that water is treated as a resource, not a commodity.   Fact is the human body needs water more than it needs food.     Once water costs rise to where it breaks even, things will sort themselves out

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:52 | 4869885 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

ah yes, things sorted eventually.




having drained the Palestinian wells, sucking up the Jordan River, the sights are turned on Syria. . .

perpetual wars for perpetual. . . resources.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:58 | 4869929 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

Mel Gibson was right.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:22 | 4870361 scattergun
scattergun's picture

Mel Gibson was right. That's not something you hear every day.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:38 | 4870362 scattergun
scattergun's picture

double tap


Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:57 | 4870844 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

No worries.  That one was worth repeating.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:30 | 4869746 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

It is not as if the south is drowning in fresh water either....

Classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul...

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:07 | 4869984 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

I have no doubt that one of these days, some faction from NorCal will sabotage water pipelines running to SoCal.  

One of my pet road markers on our road to Hell.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:30 | 4870100 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

That happened once and it can happen again.  Nice display on the water fight between the local farmers and the thieves from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power at the Eastern California Museum.   They were sabotaging the pipeline being built from Mono Cty to southern California, which still supplies the bulk of L.A.'s water.  It's quite bizarre to roam some of the creeks and wet areas up there and come across signs reading "property of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power" as it's hundreds of miles away.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:24 | 4869713 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

I get annoyed with Simon's "get out" message, because, in the end, the question is "get out to where?"  But on this, I'm with him.  I've felt that water and food are going to become issues for a while.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:40 | 4869798 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Agree.  Things aren't a crisis until they are, which is how I feel about water.  Quite a few signs already in the US since so much of our fresh produce comes from Arizona and California, heavily dependent on irrigation (California summers are completely dry, no rainfall).  We've all read about the fights between western cities and farmers and between environmentalists and farmers.  Then there are fights between the US and Mexico over Colorado River water.  Next long term drought cycle will really stress the systems out.  I can imagine what China is like.

There will have to be changes in diet.  Beef production is highly resource consumptive for what you get and it's subsidized like hell by the Feds in the form of grazing permits. Overgrazing has thoroughly trashed the grasslands of the western US, so much so that landscape level exotic species invasions have brought fire to areas that never or rarely had fire (in the form of annual European weeds), and combined with drought cycles, elminate the very nutritious perennial native grasses that sustained tens of millions of bison for millenia.

Another poster mentioned permaculture - the use of perennial crops rather than more water-demanding annual plants. 

So my question is whether our species adapts to the reduction of freshwater supplies or will it just continue headlong until unfixable crises develop leading to wars and starvation? (more than we have now).  That's not even considering how much of the world's freshwater is too polluted by man to even friggin' use.   China is an excellent example of that.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:51 | 4870195 HobbyFarmer
HobbyFarmer's picture

I believe the future of farming is small-scale, intensive farming practices using permaculture techniques.  The food grown on such a farm is delicious, fewer off-farm inputs are needed, less waste is produced, and much less pollution.  In this type of environment, water is conserved and soil is enriched/developed/improved. 

The problem?  it's small-scale.  I can likely feed my young family off my own efforts on my hobby-farm....with some excess for trade.  But not much more than that.  working an hour per day and 10 hours per weekend, I can feed my family likely 75% of our current diet.  If I suddenly had 40 hours of extra time (lost my job) I have no doubt that with my current work ethic and ability, I could completely feed my family.  (of course, with farming, their is risk.  A single hail storm could wipe me out in 10 minutes, for example.)

So, what is the world going to do as we transition from large, petroleum-based farms to small scale, sustainable farms? 

I think it'll be an ugly transition.

My take on this article about China bringing in tremendous amounts of H2O: they are delaying the uglyl transition that will need to occur.

Prepare yourselves and hedge accordingly.  Some ideas: study nature and see if you can replicate her methods of water retention.  Rooftops or driveways to cistern holding tanks.  Use swales to trap water into the ground for trees/bushes.  Design your yard with native plants that have developed to your local climate.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:25 | 4869715 Fuh Querada
Fuh Querada's picture

This guy wins the James G Ricktards 2014 award for glibness.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:43 | 4869823 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Ricktards is smarmy but I think the system permits him to give us a few warnings.  He has that "financial repression" meme down and he was discussing that before I heard anyone else mention it.  So I do take some heed from his positive spin on gold.  Who knows, he's definitely an "insider".

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:23 | 4870047 Fuh Querada
Fuh Querada's picture

I agree, but was referring to his glib generalizations like "the world monetary system collapsed in 1971" which is bullshit, I was around and earning money then, and it didn't. And his laudatory ass-kissing of institutions like the CIA and Draghi. The guy is a double agent.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:32 | 4870105 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Absolutely he loves CIA, pushes the anti-terror bullshit, etc.  I don't think he's a double agent, I just think he's an agent.  But for some reason the oligarchy does throw us some bones if we are looking for them.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:24 | 4869716 youngman
youngman's picture

How do you import water....sure a 6 pak of bottled...but enough for irrigation..your talking a river runs thru it...

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:26 | 4869721 pods
pods's picture

Maybe if they worked on, idk, NOT dumping their waste in the rivers they might have some more?


Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:10 | 4869997 Matt
Matt's picture

They could keep their economy going by manufacturing and distributing billions of life straws.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:25 | 4869722 shanearthur
shanearthur's picture

Permaculture for the win. Don't know what that is? Check out Geoff Lawton. Basically, perennial food forests (nuts, fruits, veggies, fungi) you plant on your property, thus not having to worry about gardening annuals each year, and worrying as much about water, and worrying as much about food shortages. Give up your email and then you can see the awesome videos explaining all this stuff. Dude looks a bit odd, but he knows his stuff.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:36 | 4869777 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

Depending on your climate, you might want a mixture of perennials and annuals.  Where I live, 30f-40f daily temperature swings are the norm.  50f is not unheard of.  Yes, we can drop down to or below freezing and get up to the mid 70s or even the 80s in the afternoon.  This means that any crop that is a perennial fruit or nut is not always reliable.  I lost all but about 2 apples this year (i.e. every fruit tree and the grapes did not produce,) and lost a vast majority of my plums and pears due to frost this year.  Peaches and grapes are doing fine.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:46 | 4869845 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Cowboy, with that kind of temp swings, annuals fare even worse.  Very few of those can even handle frost much less a freeze.  I know an unexpected freeze can wreck a season's peach/cherry/apricot etc crop, but the tree survives to produce again.  Perennial veggies like artichoke probably can handle a short freeze and still produce.  Would have to adjust the choice of crops to the location for sure.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:06 | 4869972 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

It depends on the annual.  We have some localized annuals that do quite well. I've simply had enough lost crops from perennials due to warm afternoons and late frosts to know not to rely on them as my sole source.  I've also had enough battering on annuals to know not to depend on any one of them either.  I've got 6 cultivars of (flour/dent) corn interplanted for breeding purposes.  I started on March 30th, planting in blocks, planting one block per week for a total of 7 blocks.  The first block had a hard germination.  The first two blocks got hit with 28f.  Some of the plants were stressed, and some acted like it was a normal day.  Two of the cultivars are from seed I saved last year, and really went through the ringer.  One of those cultivars (Painted Mountain,) I put in its own rows so I would know what was Painted Mountain and what was not.  Much of it was killed by record or near record heat last year.  What survived is dealing with the heat and the dry better than anything else now, but not enough individuals survived to avoid future inbreeding depression without the introduction of new genetics.  


I'm also trying tepary beans this year.  Some cultivars of teparies are dry farmed in the Sonoran desert.  We're typically just as dry as the Sonoran in June, but 10-20f cooler, which still means pretty hot, but not insanely hot.  I've been going roughly 2 weeks between waterings.  Once bean pods are visible, melons are going in where they are, and all cultivars were originally developed within 30 miles of me, one having developed right where I live.  


Black seeded simpson lettuce does exceptionally well here, and can be planted mid Feb, and with shade, can be prevented from bolting until June.  Swiss Chard and beets also do very well here.  


My point is simple:  Don't put all your eggs in one basket.  Annuals are great, as once they are established, you might have to put a few days a year into maintenance, plus ensuring that they have water and that they are harvested.  But in my climate, a warm couple of early weeks means that they will blossom and be at high risk for a late hard freeze.  With annuals, I can plant when I want, and the growing season typically extends into October.  


That being said, I did put in a Navajo blackberry this year.  When told "those things spread!" I said "I'm counting on it."

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:24 | 4870062 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Impressive work, seriously.  Hope you're recording these results as others could benefit from your experiments.  Might be able to sell that info to those in the general area.  I know quite a bit of research was done at the University of Arizona into legumes (beans, etc) both for temp hardiness and drought tolerance.  Much was directed at what could produce food for spreading desert areas in Africa but also for US and Mexico.  Some material was grown out at the Bryce Thompson Arboretum near Globe as well.   Seems you are working in the same vein. 

I'm currently in a mountainous area without gardening ability, but look forward to returning to "gardening" in the near future, though I've never done any hybridizing except for horticultural or wild non-food species.

Good luck!

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:32 | 4870109 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

Yes, I have recently started keeping records.  There is not enough yet to help others who aren't able to interact with me on a regular basis.  And the funny thing about the corn is that it is planted where there was a pole barn last year that had its supports rotted out.  20 years of no precip means that the ground underneath is severely cracked, and about 6-8" down, the water just runs down the cracks and the deep soil does not receive the benefit of being watered.  Corn needs water up to 3 feet down.  I'm doing what would normally be considered overwatering until the soil swells and the cracks go away, but this is fundamentally corn crucible, year two for me.  I've also got 3 out of probably 40 Kohl Rabi that I planted late this year that are exhibiting heat resistance.  They are going to seed.  

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:25 | 4869723 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

How and from where does China import that quantity of fresh water?  I doubt there are pipelines from Russia for that.  By boat from Southeast Asia?  Where's the surplus coming from?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:33 | 4869768 I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

The import bit sounds like total BS to me too.  The US doesn't import that much oil, compared to what it takes to grow a few acres of rice.  My guess is if there's any truth to this at all, what it means is there are a few canals down on the southern border that just happen to be convenient.

I do believe they have a shortage overall, everyone knows that's a worldwide megatrend for the next century, and pretty much only large-scale desalination is going to address it.  Well yes efficiency too, but the bottom line is the cost of water - though mostly for farming and industrial who have been getting it cheap up until now - is going up a lot and everyone will have to adjust.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:52 | 4869887 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Yes, there will be water and oil, but the costs to produce it will do nothing but increase.  Desalinization technology still has huge issues both in cost and long term effectiveness of the plants -- otherwise you'd see those things all over the California coast.  We will also have to clean up our freshwater resources, period.   We must become more intelligent or we will kill ourselves off. 

What will be the effects of rising costs?  Nothing good.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:26 | 4869728 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

And this is why the Chinese are going to smack their head against the ceiling....

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:28 | 4869735 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Actually, this is the answer 

Irnoically, our water problems have more to do with what we've done to our dirt

We have destroyed the natural systems that regenerate fresh water. We can repair them... if we're not stupid 

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:31 | 4869750 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

"if we're not stupid"


Well, there's goes the whole "repairing" plan.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:28 | 4869736 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Nanoporous graphene could outperform best commercial water desalination techniques

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:30 | 4869745 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

Does anybody remember when Bechtel privatized rain in Bolivia?

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:39 | 4869800 tonyw
tonyw's picture

I remember reading that in some places in the US it is illegal to collect your own rainwater!!

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:56 | 4869917 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

it's amerika man, everything is illegal...unless, of course, you are a large corporation. then it's all a go.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:30 | 4869748 therover
therover's picture

"Water is THE critical resource..." PERIOD !

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:31 | 4869752 debtor of last ...
debtor of last resort's picture

Hey, i'm drowning over here, every drop is rehypothecated.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:31 | 4869756 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

Bigger problem then for drinking is that so many beverages need water for production. Their food prices have skyrocketed there and I suspect water-type beverages will follow. And prices for imported food is extremely expensive [and I'm not talking countfeit food; I mean authentic imports].

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:33 | 4869762 schooltruth
schooltruth's picture

Boy, if only China had an enormous set of glaciers and a huge freshwater river just off their western border....... Oh, wait.



Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:06 | 4869971 dearth vader
dearth vader's picture

Imagine how much pee 1.3 billion people can produce.

If they'd use it for agriculture instead of dumping it in their rivers, it would solve half of their problems. The Yellow Sea would become a lot less yellow.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:36 | 4870450 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

They're using it to grow prawns and tilapia to ship the the supermarket near you.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:37 | 4869787 RaiZH
RaiZH's picture

There's plenty in Libya... go help yourselves. 

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:38 | 4869790 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

H2O bitchez!

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:49 | 4869863 Goldbugger
Goldbugger's picture



Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:50 | 4869876 magnetosphere
magnetosphere's picture

if this idiot had a clue he wouldnt be selling newsletters.  comparing oil volumes to water volumes?  wtf?  for a dose of reality moving 150 Billion cubic meters of water via cargo ship requires 75 million gallons of diesel, or about .05% of china's annual oil consumption.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:00 | 4869939 Seer
Seer's picture

"moving 150 Billion cubic meters of water via cargo ship requires 75 million gallons of diesel, or about .05% of china's annual oil consumption."

And those ships and loading/unloading facilities require NO energy? (also would have to do end-processing- what kind of growth is going to occur in those holds?)

This is at current rates.  When the cost of diesel goes up -remember: China has to import more and more of it- will this still hold?  And, as more and more water is needed? (and less and less is available- prices likely to go up [on that water])

I'd be careful about being so free with using the word "idiot" (though, for sure, Simon does tend to show strong tendencies in this regard).

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:23 | 4870052 magnetosphere
magnetosphere's picture

oops.  i screwed up the calculation, depends on the distance theyre moving it, and it will use more than i claimed

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:33 | 4870117 Matt
Matt's picture

If you're always transfering the water from a greater height to a lower one, gravity does most of the work.

There is plenty of water in Antarctica. 

China could always cut back on building ghost cities and mega-highways to spend more of that energy on importing water. 

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:10 | 4869994 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

"If he had a brain, he would be dangerous."

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:55 | 4869910 Conax
Conax's picture


Instead of building ghost cities- go to the mountains-find a narrow pass- build a dam- drink the reservoir.



Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:57 | 4869919 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

What water problem?

It's right there. We just need to make a deal with our reptilian friends. Easy.

These articles trying to display China in some kind of submissive position are ludacris. They have all of the leverage in the world and will soon be calling the shots. Merika on the other hand, better settle in for a nice view of the hind teat.

You have to wonder what would one do with freshly constructed ghost cities and a restless population eagerly looking to advance their conditions...

China for the win

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:02 | 4869952 Seer
Seer's picture

"China for the win"

Yeah, like no one exercising a perpetual growth policy has ever failed...

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:29 | 4870098 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

I don't disagree. But I also think it is pertinent to note who is in what stage of their growth cycle.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:54 | 4870507 stopthejunk1
stopthejunk1's picture

China's undoing will be twofold:


1) rapidly aging population

2) internal revolt against political oppression => instability and capital flight


Even their domestic nationalist propaganda cannot overcome these problems.  They can never challenge the West while they have these serious structural issues.  Check back with us in 200 years.


Meanwhile, the West will return to real growth (as opposed to the current equities bubble, ZIRP, malaise, etc.) in about 2017.  Look for the Schiller P/E to be about 10 or 11.  This has as much to do with the horizon of memory and associated consumer/investor sentiment as it does with any economic or political policy.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 17:17 | 4871146 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Haha whoa I missed this comment earlier. Lets review: The two "difficulties you have described could easily be applied to any country. What is more important is who will be able to manage these impediments best.

The differences in societal management between the eat and the west will be very telling in the coming years. Here are a few points you should consider:
- The west is relying on a debt fuelled bubble and fancy pants accounting to keep the economy above stall speed. Realistically it is already deep in a recession. Statistical manipulation is the only means they have to keep this fact at bay. There is not other option at this stage, should an actual deleveraging occur all hell would break loose. We both know this economy is completely hollow.

- The east is has also been running a robust debt fuelled program, but with major structural differences. First of all they have real growth. Nearly double digits of real productive activity. While the west has been closing factories, flipping houses and bailing out failing institutions, China has been operating under nearly polar conditions. The beneficiaries off a global outsourcing, China has a manufacturing base that many continents should envy. They also seem to have little respect for patent laws so you can consider them future competition for all goods produced in the future. They have been activity allowing failing borrowers to go under. This is an acute difference and extremely smart in the long run.

- The west has a fully functioning nanny state. While it makes for comfortable living, it does not encourage a resilient population base. China may be facing a violent revolt, but I assure you the west, specifically the USA is facing something much worse. The lack of self sufficiency coupled with the belief in the right to arms is a truly alarming scenario. Should credit begin to seize up, you have a potentially historical recipe for disaster. You should understand that the west is a relatively new nation. There have been civil wars, but in a time of plentiful resource and person preparation. Very different conditions from what we have now.

- The east on the other hand has virtually no social safety net. The majority of their population is either self sufficient or a generation or two from it. They are accustom to hard work and strife. The Chinese have a long storied history. Economic hiccups, civil war, even genocide are known to everyone. This may seem trivial to you, but when TSHF these lessons of old become second nature and will assist people through tough situations.

I could go on but time is precious, and I have things to do. If you believe the horizon of memory will provide the spine of Americas insurrection, you should consider what kind of impression is being made right now...

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:39 | 4870141 Matt
Matt's picture

Extracting water from the Earth's mantle would definitely raise sea levels. Hopefully, the water doesn't come gushing out of the crystals as soon as someone digs into the mantle. Hey, there's a new plot for an end of the world film!

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:39 | 4870476 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Lol I suppose, I should mention that article sounds like complete bunk. Hence the reptilian reference. I find resource projections similar to growth projections. Grossly overstated. But as long as the shareholders believe it ;)

I like this movie idea tho... The end of the world. Again. Starring the Pyramid Kid, Matt Bagface annnnd Scarlett Johansson. Watch as they save the world from themselves in this action pack extravaganza!! Bullion, bankers, and bosom, this one's a sure block buster!! Rated R for ridiculous

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:14 | 4870636 Matt
Matt's picture

Lots of science magazines and shows are reporting the crystals full of water:

I doubt all of them have suddenly jumped on the tabloid bandwagon, surely someone fact-checked the story.

EDIT: just noticed the national geographic article is dated 2002, while this story is appearing elsewhere as if it was just discovered within the last couple months.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:38 | 4870744 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Well that's something. To be honest man I have a hard time with a lot of these exciting new discoveries. I'm the type if person who see's the conspiracy within the conspiracy. If someone tells me not too worry, they've found more water then is in the ocean, 400 km below the surface of the planet... I'm probably gonna dam up the creek behind my house and sit tight.

When they same time will tell, it applies in more ways then one ;)

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:45 | 4870492 stopthejunk1
stopthejunk1's picture

There's the small problem of sufficient drilling technology.  The deepest hole we've ever managed to drill is the Kola Borehole at 40,230 feet (USSR, 1989.)  The continental crust is 3 to 7 times that deep.  Or are you going to drill for water on the bottom of the Mariana Trench?


Whoever figures out cheap desalinization is going to be even richer than the guy that solves our energy storage (i.e., battery technology) problems.  One of those two will be the world's first self-made trillionaire.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:09 | 4870624 Matt
Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:41 | 4870482 stopthejunk1
stopthejunk1's picture

Yawn.  As if somehow, development or geopolitics were a zero-sum game.  You read too much Bill Gertz.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:58 | 4869927 Straw Dog
Straw Dog's picture

Jim Rogers has been telling folks that agricultural investment is the wave of the future for many years. He has also talked about China's water problems and investment in same.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:03 | 4869959 Seer
Seer's picture

I'm a bit more literal that Jim.  I see agriculture not as some sort of market-trader investment, but of investing in life.  That he sees importance in agriculture is a good thing to hear.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:05 | 4869947 The Most Intere...
The Most Interesting Frog in the World's picture

This gobal plantation bullshit is getting old.  There would be no fucking shortage of water or energy if the Chinese elites hadn't got together with their global partners and formulated this bullshit plan to move farmers off their lands (where they have been self-sufficient for thousands of years) to the city to become "consumers" of their bullshit products.  Fuck you China and fuck you USA for partnering with these mother fuckers!

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:06 | 4869977 Seer
Seer's picture

I agree that the shift of folks out of the countrysides has been a bad thing.  I don't, however, believe that had we stayed with a Jeffersonian mindset that it would necessarily turn out any different; as long as we predicated ourselves on perpetual growth we'd get to this point, the only difference would have been that it would have taken longer (delayed), and, perhaps, with things taking longer we might have had more time to actually think about this problem and have caught ourselves.  Oh well, parallel universe and all...

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 13:11 | 4870000 Ban KKiller
Ban KKiller's picture

Ghandi had a rural plan too. Decentralize and become independant. Big Corps hate this model...for obvious reasons. 

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:36 | 4870442 stopthejunk1
stopthejunk1's picture

Humanity cannot survive any further factionalism and "independence."  


What is needed is cooperation and interdependence.  "Separate but equal" does not work.  Ghandi was a man of his times, but if he were here today and had witnessed globalization and our current struggles, he'd agree with me.

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:39 | 4870475 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

The British Royal Family didn't like Ghandi very much.

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