Only " Tibet Water to Xinjiang Project" can save China from severe economic&social unrest


AndrewS

Brigadier
Registered Member
Shale gas in Sichuan is a terrible idea, for gas production and water usage... There are plethora of reasons I won't go into.

But desalination of sea water for coastal usages is not economically feasible. It is extremely expensive and environmental damaging. The amount needed by even just the coastal provinces would require more energy than China is current producing with change. Also transporting it further inland would also be expensive. A single oil pipeline is in the order of billions, now water requirements are 100x more, so expect to cost even more (not linear of course).

The latest desalinisation plants have a cost of $0.3 per m3 of water.
If the average person uses 150litres per day, that works out as $16 per person per year.

That is affordable.
 

ZeEa5KPul

Major
Registered Member
The latest desalinisation plants have a cost of $0.3 per m3 of water.
If the average person uses 150litres per day, that works out as $16 per person per year.

That is affordable.
$0.3 per m3 is a great price for commercial and industrial water use as well, where prices are around $1 per cubic meter. It's nonviable for agriculture (at least without water-conserving technology like drip irrigation, etc.), where prices are closer to $0.03.
 

PiSigma

"the engineer"
There is no interpretation in which this statement is correct. Even at the per capita GDP level China is middle income. At the aggregate level the Chinese state has access to mindbogglingly vast resources.

You spec'ed one out in Canada or wherever you live, where a "worker" needs $100,000 just to scratch his butt - so your numbers have no bearing on what it would cost in China.

China's energy consumption naturally doubles every 10-15 years. The energy would come from where it usually comes from - in the short term coal (unfortunately), over the longer term renewables and advanced nuclear power. A small fleet of molten salt reactors could desalinate vast quantities of water using their waste heat.

Brine mining. There's uranium, lithium, magnesium and other valuable minerals in brine, that should generate more than enough income to fund safe disposal of the tailing.
China is poor is a country compared to the ones that are doing desalination such as Saudi Arabia and Singapore. That is a fact, and it will take 20 years for China to be at where they are now for GDP per capita. This means China won't be throwing money at water per citizen like they do, especially when they have other options.

I specifically mentioned the capital cost. I didn't factor in construction. And guess where we buy most of these pipes, vessels and pumps from? O ya China. The membranes are only made by a few companies globally, half are in China. For the plant I described, it would take 8000+ banks of membranes that need to be flushed regularly and changed out. No matter who is running it, that is a technology limitation and the costs will be the same.

China uses about 1800m3/yr/person of water. That is 5m3/d/p, so the plant I described can be enough for 4000 people. The coastal region is 500 million people. This means you need 125 thousand of these $100 M plants (not including distribution pipelines or power). Or a thousand per city, so build on the entire coastline? China's entire gdp won't be enough to build this. A small fleet of reactors? Think the entire earth's power generation x 3.

The energy required from coal... Would basically kill the entire planet.

When I say brine, it is the waste stream from the RO units. Basically very concentrated sea water. Chlorides are extremely hard and expensive to deal with. At the volumes you are looking at, expect another couple trillion to deal with it. There is a reason no one try to get minerals out of sea water, it's 1000x cheaper to get it from the ground.
 
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PiSigma

"the engineer"
The latest desalinisation plants have a cost of $0.3 per m3 of water.
If the average person uses 150litres per day, that works out as $16 per person per year.

That is affordable.
After being subsidised. And a person in China uses 5m3 per day. So that's $550 per year. Way too expensive for majority of people.
 

nemo

Junior Member
After being subsidised. And a person in China uses 5m3 per day. So that's $550 per year. Way too expensive for majority of people.

Per capital GDP for China approaches $10K USD nominal. Why is $550 not affordable? Is the 5m3 usage per person include industrial usage (i.e. average of everything vs household only)? And while this price may be out of the reach of poorest area, it cannot be said for the urban area, which now contains more than half of the population.
 

antiterror13

Brigadier
After being subsidised. And a person in China uses 5m3 per day. So that's $550 per year. Way too expensive for majority of people.

where did you get the figure of 5m3 per day? thats simply impossible .. 150L per day is normal, but American use more than that like 600L per day

I think you are confused by just divided country water usage and population .... which mostly used for agriculture, animal farm and industry. But for household water usage, most likely around 150L per day or less for China

Water quality for household requires very high but for agriculture, animal farms and industry, much less
 

Inst

Captain
Problem with desalinization is piping; it's not that different from digging a vast canal to extend the Pacific into Central Asia in that, sure, it'd be beneficial, but how are you going to pay for it?
 

2handedswordsman

Junior Member
Registered Member
Problem with desalinization is piping; it's not that different from digging a vast canal to extend the Pacific into Central Asia in that, sure, it'd be beneficial, but how are you going to pay for it?

Same way like other pharaonic infastructure projects PRC has done, doing, and planning to do. Gaddhafi's Libya made the vastest irrigation project in the human history. Why PRC nowdays can't do something as colossal and even bigger? They managed to build 30.000 km of electrified high speed rail in 10 years. We shall not try to "translate" Chinese reality with Western style economics and politics. Even now, with that mixed and somehow confusing model, Chinese governance is still pro-people and not cost accounting if a project benefits all. PRC is far more leftist than the leftier western democracy and we have to add that to the equation.
Anyway all this thing discussed is just a speculation
 

AndrewS

Brigadier
Registered Member
Same way like other pharaonic infastructure projects PRC has done, doing, and planning to do. Gaddhafi's Libya made the vastest irrigation project in the human history. Why PRC nowdays can't do something as colossal and even bigger? They managed to build 30.000 km of electrified high speed rail in 10 years. We shall not try to "translate" Chinese reality with Western style economics and politics. Even now, with that mixed and somehow confusing model, Chinese governance is still pro-people and not cost accounting if a project benefits all. PRC is far more leftist than the leftier western democracy and we have to add that to the equation.
Anyway all this thing discussed is just a speculation

And yet that great Libyan water project only supplies the water needs of 4 million people.

My issue is that even if you add all the societal benefits, I doubt the cost-benefit equation of sending water to Xinjiang works.

Even sending water to Qinghai, Gansu and Inner Mongolia would make more sense - rather than sending it to Xinjiang.

Suppose the water was diverted to Qinghai, and then connected up with the Yellow River.
The additional water passes through Lanzhou (Gansu), Yinchuan (Ningxia) and the Inner Mongolia cities, before connecting to the North China Plain.

Ningxia and Inner Mongolia are sparsely populated, so could support more population and agriculture.
There's also the Ordos Desert which could be irrigated if you really want to transform a desert.
These places are adjacent to the densely populated Chinese core, so transport costs aren't a significant issue.

A renewed Yellow River could also serve as a transport artery deep into the interior.
It would serve a similar function as the Changjiang River or the Mississippi River.
 

Mohsin77

Senior Member
Registered Member
Problem with desalinization is piping;

I'm fairly certain the problem with desalination is energy.

But there is work being done on this:
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Humanity definitely needs to crack this puzzle soon, would be better if there was a combined international effort.
 

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