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[TH] Each Bitcoin transaction uses 4,200 gallons of water, enough to fill a swimming pool, could potentially cause freshwater shortages

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So? We're run the risk of using it up faster than it is getting replenished. What was so hard to grasp there. Renewable doesn't mean unlimited.
Stuff and nonsense. How many servers are being cooled with wellwater from underground aquifers? And even ignoring closed-loop cooling, which consumes essentially no water, the open-loop evaporative systems put that water vapour back into the air ... where guess what it does? Condenses back out as rainfall. Total loss: zero.
 
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Stuff and nonsense. How many servers are being cooled with wellwater from underground aquifers? And even ignoring closed-loop cooling, which consumes essentially no water, the open-loop evaporative systems put that water vapour back into the air ... where guess what it does? Condenses back out as rainfall. Total loss: zero.

There's still a difference between total existing water and accessible fresh water. If it's getting pulled from usable sources faster than it returns, the effective total available does go down. Ask anyone who's needed to drill a new well.
 
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These like servers have a vaporisation rate too so do consume water.
Not all they pull in no but not none.
Nuclear plants don't operate off evaporative cooling; it's strictly convective. There is a trivial amount of additional evaporation from the water once released (it's warmer), but these studies don't use those figures -- they count every drop cycled through the system as "consumed". And even the 0.01% of additional evaporative losses merely return back to the environment in the form of additional rainfall. It doesn't vanish off the face of the earth.

There's still a difference between total existing water and accessible fresh water. If it's getting pulled from usable sources faster than it returns, the effective total available does go down. Ask anyone who's needed to drill a new well.
Nuclear reactors don't store water, nor do they disintegrate it with space lasers or magic fairy dust. Every gallon they "consume" is returned to the environment, generally within a few minutes of when it first entered the cooling loop.
 
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Did i miss something here? They are trying to compare the energy consumption of mining one bitcoin versus the energy consumption of a VISA transaction? That’s a nonsense comparison. The relevant cost comparison is TRADING a fractional bitcoin.
 
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Did i miss something here? They are trying to compare the energy consumption of mining one bitcoin versus the energy consumption of a VISA transaction? That’s a nonsense comparison. The relevant cost comparison is TRADING a fractional bitcoin.
That is the comparison being made, at l least I think it is.

Nuclear plants don't operate off evaporative cooling; it's strictly convective. There is a trivial amount of additional evaporation from the water once released (it's warmer), but these studies don't use those figures -- they count every drop cycled through the system as "consumed". And even the 0.01% of additional evaporative losses merely return back to the environment in the form of additional rainfall. It doesn't vanish off the face of the earth.


Nuclear reactors don't store water, nor do they disintegrate it with space lasers or magic fairy dust. Every gallon they "consume" is returned to the environment, generally within a few minutes of when it first entered the cooling loop.
To the environment, yes, but not directly back to the source.
 
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To the environment, yes, but not directly back to the source.
No, they release it directly back to the source. New Jersey's Salem Nuclear Plant, for example, pulls water from Delaware Bay, and releases it directly back into the bay. California's Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant pulls from the Pacific (no fresh water consumed at all), and returns every drop back to the same location.

There are a few nuclear plants using recirculating systems that vent a small amount of steam, but again, the article isn't using these figures, but the orders-of-magnitude larger figure of total amount cycled through the system.
 
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Too lazy to quote individual statements. Tedious thing with these smartphones. So...

- Fiat vs Crypto comparison use energy per transaction figures for each, not blocks vs transaction. This is explicitly stated in titles and labels.
-Kazakhstan has no nuclear plants.
-The study-in-question uses water consumption for its estimate, not withdrawal. Consumed water, by definition does not return to regional, abstractable water sources.
- Air moisture is not accounted for in any water budget (except the theoretical boilerplate prefacing hydrology/climatology textbooks) for the simple fact is that we can't withdraw it (no. Moisture capture is not significant enough to be considered), and we don't control where it precipitates.
 
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- Fiat vs Crypto comparison use energy per transaction figures for each, not blocks vs transaction.
I'm not a Bitcoin fan, but it's still an asinine comparison. Visa merely records the transaction, whereas crypto secures it. How much energy does everyone from Visa's fraud division to the US Secret Service spend to secure credit-card transactions?

-Kazakhstan has no nuclear plants.
It has no hydroelectric plants either, but that didn't stop the study authors from using the vastly higher evaporation figures for hydro reservoirs to calculate water usage.

Consumed water, by definition does not return to regional, abstractable water sources...we don't control where it precipitates.
But it still precipitates somewhere. This study attempts to cast the usage as a global problem, when the facts are otherwise. Either the so-called "consumed" water returns as additional precipitation to the same region, meaning it changes nothing; or it precipitates elsewhere, meaning it actually alleviates a local problem there.

To further show how absurd this methodology is, these studies calculate hydroelectric as by far the largest consumer of water per MW-hr. But unlike other electricity sources, evaporation from a hydro reservoir doesn't increase as more electricity is generated; it actually declines slightly. (the reservoir level drops). Also, the studies assume that the only purpose of a hydro reservoir is electricity generation, when most of these would exist regardless -- nearly all dams are built to control flooding, manage water levels for irrigation and navigation, etc.
 
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Solar isn't profitable? I wonder why so many houses in England (a very cloudy country) manage to have so many residential solar panels on roofs... lived there last year and saw a shocking amount, but I guess it isn't profitable, so they must be idiots.



Kazakhstan was never much heavy on that resource of water to begin with, is the difference. Fly you fools.

Part of the reason for solar panels on domestic homes in the uk is due to govt funding being given, also, money is reinbursed by the national grid for excess that you dont use (in the form of either a rebate or reduction in your bill).

As a matter of side interest, i lived on a narrow boat off the electricity grid for x 2 years, with x 3 100 w solar panels on the roof (approx 22 amp maximum output) and x 3 100 amp hour leisure batteries as battery storage, it was enough to power a laptop a tv + provide a flushing toilet and lighting, without ever having to start the engine in order to charge the batteries up (which is how most normal narrow boats get electricity, by running the engine).

Back to the water topic there are reports of micro plastics and forever chemicals being found in drinking water, apparently the forever chemicals are literally that, as a long term polutant in drinking water (some of these chemicals are now banned, but, are there forever).

We are actually drinking the same water dinosaurs drank all those years ago, its the same water, recycled by nature and as some have said there is only a relatively small amount of fresh water we can drink on the planet at any one time.

Global warming could perhaps become an issue at some point due to water evaporation in hot areas of the world.
 
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Also, the studies assume that the only purpose of a hydro reservoir is electricity generation, when most of these would exist regardless -- nearly all dams are built to control flooding, manage water levels for irrigation and navigation, etc.
I would be very curious to know what source do you have for this affirmation? Literarily all the large dams that I know in France Italy and Romania are built for electricity generation, and the managing of the water levels comes as a consequence (there are also many bad consequences on biodiversity and the livelihood of the river itself), but I would be glad to learn something new. Care to share your source?
 
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I'm not a Bitcoin fan, but it's still an asinine comparison. Visa merely records the transaction, whereas crypto secures it. How much energy does everyone from Visa's fraud division to the US Secret Service spend to secure credit-card transactions?
No. Visa also secures data in transit via whatever algorithms they use. Practically all websites that handle money shifted to TLS encryption, and I'm pretty sure they practice all that infosec voodoo for their servers.

Regulatory anti-fraud activity would also apply to crypto. The notion that crypto is fraud-proof can easily be proven false by looking at your email's spam folder and counting the phishing campaigns received. Or better yet, the number of crypto stealing malware that have been popping up in the last decade.

It has no hydroelectric plants either, but that didn't stop the study authors from using the vastly higher evaporation figures for hydro reservoirs to calculate water usage.
They actually do. A fraction of the total generation, but still.
Have you actually read this study, by the way? To quote (with emphasis):
Hydropower generation generally consumes even more water per kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated, as water evaporates from the hydropower reservoirs. However, these reservoirs may serve purposes beyond electricity generation; thus, this commentary considers only the portion of water loss attributable to power generation.
They also do explicitly state the minor role of hydro in the total budget.

But it still precipitates somewhere. This study attempts to cast the usage as a global problem, when the facts are otherwise. Either the so-called "consumed" water returns as additional precipitation to the same region, meaning it changes nothing; or it precipitates elsewhere, meaning it actually alleviates a local problem there.
Roughly three quarters of global precipitation occurs over the oceans. And even precipitation that occurs over land, only part of it accumulates in a usable form. Can be as low as 10~20% for surface runoff (streams, etc). What little gets to infiltrate into the soil can't be fully accounted for either. Top soil moisture is unharvestable and will be lost to evaporation (or rainfed agriculture and natural flora, but they would probably be insignificant compared to the total volume of soil moisture, especially in regions such as Kazakhastan). Deeper flow can take a long time to reach aquifers, and aquifers themselves can't be fully drained (and have strict limitations to how fast you can abstract them).

Total water content in the planet may be fixed, but much like energy we describe as entropy, not all of it can be used.

And I'm skipping over the issue of trans-boundary water resources and the losses within these systems here.

To further show how absurd this methodology is, these studies calculate hydroelectric as by far the largest consumer of water per MW-hr. But unlike other electricity sources, evaporation from a hydro reservoir doesn't increase as more electricity is generated; it actually declines slightly. (the reservoir level drops). Also, the studies assume that the only purpose of a hydro reservoir is electricity generation, when most of these would exist regardless -- nearly all dams are built to control flooding, manage water levels for irrigation and navigation, etc.
Skipping over the already addressed "what dams are" for part, I want to point out two issues in this paragraph (that may be slightly unrelated to the exact topic at hand):
For multi-purpose reservoirs, releasing water for power generation does indeed reduce evaporation. But the water released would be unavailable to the other consumptive purposes (irrigation, domestic, etc) of said reservoir.
Multi-reservoir systems make the situation even more complex. You can't just release water at will. Although, I admit, the issue here becomes less of water waste, more of energy generation limits.
 
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No. Visa also secures data in transit
No. Anyone with a vendor account can charge as many credit-card transactions as they wish, for any amount they wish, to any card number they possess. When you hand your card to your server at the restaurant, nothing prevents them from recording the number, and charging additional transactions to it (which has happened to me on more than one occasion.) Those without card numbers can spoof point-of-sale terminals or otherwise learn them in dozens of different manners. The credit card companies, the underlying banks, and the US Secret Service employ a veritable army of individuals and resources to secure the credit card system. Crypto isn't entirely "fraud proof" -- nothing is -- but it can only be compromised by the theft of a private key -- equivalent to cracking a vault at your local bank.


[The study] also does explicitly state the minor role of hydro in the total budget.
A disclaimer in the text doesn't fix the flaw in their methodology A reservoir has a fixed evaporation rate. Whether you generate 1 kW-hr from it or 100 million, the water "consumed" doesn't changed (technically, it actually decreases slightly the more power you generate, but we'll ignore that for now).

Roughly three quarters of global precipitation occurs over the oceans
Sure. Because roughly three quarters of precipitation occurs over the 75% of the planet covered by oceans. Most precipitation falls near where it occurs -- which is why 91 of the 100 rainiest cities in the world are coastal cities.

. And even precipitation that occurs over land, only part of it accumulates in a usable form. Can be as low as 10~20% for surface runoff (streams, etc).
Err, where do you think "surface runoff" goes? Every creek, stream, pond, lake, and river in the world is the result of surface runoff. The vast majority of the water budget (in the US and Canada at least) comes from this runoff, not from underground aquifers.

I would be very curious to know what source do you have for this affirmation? Literarily all the large dams that I know in France Italy and Romania are built for electricity generation...
A fair question, but the information is so ubiquitous that it's rather like asking for "my source" on the theory of gravity. I can tell you that, from 1870 to 1960 in the US alone, more than 86,000 dams were built, the vast majority of which do *not* generate power, and the largest dam system in the USA (the 29 dams of the TVA) was founded in 1933 with a mission statement that listed electricity generation third, behind flood control and navigation. Any very large dam built in the electric era will include hydroelectric generation (that power is too valuable to just throw away) but most of these reservoirs would exist regardless. Take the largest dam in France (the Génissiat) for instance -- built in the 1940s, but had been considered all the way back to the late 1700s: delayed only because the technology didn't yet exist to build on the weak limestone there. Or the largest dam in all Europe, the Alqueva in Portugal, whose site states: "The objectives of the construction of Alqueva Dam had to do with electrical power but mainly to provide for a water source to create an irrigation system to the whole Alentejo region. This would be a way to develop agriculture and also face the problem of land abandonment."
 
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No. Anyone with a vendor account can charge as many credit-card transactions as they wish, for any amount they wish, to any card number they possess. When you hand your card to your server at the restaurant, nothing prevents them from recording the number, and charging additional transactions to it (which has happened to me on more than one occasion.) Those without card numbers can spoof point-of-sale terminals or otherwise learn them in dozens of different manners. The credit card companies, the underlying banks, and the US Secret Service employ a veritable army of individuals and resources to secure the credit card system. Crypto isn't entirely "fraud proof" -- nothing is -- but it can only be compromised by the theft of a private key -- equivalent to cracking a vault at your local bank.
I did specifically write "in transit" and "servers," which is where the similarity between crypto and Visa ends. How accounts are accessed is a completely different topic and would be unfair to compare the two under, given how crypto lacks a card-based system. You may do so with cardless, fiat-based digital wallets such as paypal, which obviously are also practically immune to spoofing, double billing, etc, and probably have energy costs per transaction within ballpark of Visa's.

A disclaimer in the text doesn't fix the flaw in their methodology A reservoir has a fixed evaporation rate. Whether you generate 1 kW-hr from it or 100 million, the water "consumed" doesn't changed (technically, it actually decreases slightly the more power you generate, but we'll ignore that for now).
Honestly, you're using hydro as a very bad strawman here. The study does not assume hydropower to be the sole generation method. The footprint figures used are based on all power generation methods in the country. Hydro, because it only covers ~10% of the generation, doesn't have much effect on the overall consumption figure.
If you're versed in R, you can check the computations yourself.

That said, evaporation figures don't change that much because reservoir operations doesn't vary much year-to-year (unless operation underwent dramatic adjustment). While in theory emptying a reservoir in a day would have much less evaporation than if you did in a year, in practice no one does that. And as you've already stated, reservoirs have multiple uses and usually planned on an annual basis. So drawdown is nearly always steady and slow-ish, except in -irrelevant- cases such as flushing/routing.

tl;dr, saying more generation equals less loss is pointless.

Sure. Because roughly three quarters of precipitation occurs over the 75% of the planet covered by oceans. Most precipitation falls near where it occurs -- which is why 91 of the 100 rainiest cities in the world are coastal cities.
The seas and oceans these coastal cities neighbour are, as you said, cover the majority of the planet. Evaporation from a much, much smaller, man-made reservoir on its own are not enough to cause precipitation. Same goes for losses from industry, power generation, irrigation, etc.

Err, where do you think "surface runoff" goes? Every creek, stream, pond, lake, and river in the world is the result of surface runoff. The vast majority of the water budget (in the US and Canada at least) comes from this runoff, not from underground aquifers.
I'm well aware where it goes. I'm not sure what you're objecting to here, though.
 
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Nuclear plants utilize water; they don't consume it. Large quantities of freshwater are pulled in, used to cool the secondary loop, then released back into the same river, lake, or stream from whence it came.

This is true of most any power plant, nuclear or not, if there is water around (the sea also works); avoids the need for a cooling tower.
 
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Did i miss something here? They are trying to compare the energy consumption of mining one bitcoin versus the energy consumption of a VISA transaction? That’s a nonsense comparison. The relevant cost comparison is TRADING a fractional bitcoin.
You did miss something. Not one bitcoin. One bitcoin transaction.
 
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A fair question, but the information is so ubiquitous that it's rather like asking for "my source" on the theory of gravity. I can tell you that, from 1870 to 1960 in the US alone, more than 86,000 dams were built, the vast majority of which do *not* generate power, and the largest dam system in the USA (the 29 dams of the TVA) was founded in 1933 with a mission statement that listed electricity generation third, behind flood control and navigation. Any very large dam built in the electric era will include hydroelectric generation (that power is too valuable to just throw away) but most of these reservoirs would exist regardless. Take the largest dam in France (the Génissiat) for instance -- built in the 1940s, but had been considered all the way back to the late 1700s: delayed only because the technology didn't yet exist to build on the weak limestone there. Or the largest dam in all Europe, the Alqueva in Portugal, whose site states: "The objectives of the construction of Alqueva Dam had to do with electrical power but mainly to provide for a water source to create an irrigation system to the whole Alentejo region. This would be a way to develop agriculture and also face the problem of land abandonment."
Nice dodge, and maybe it is somewhat true for the US (just somewhat https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_dams). But the situation very different in Europe and the former US. And Kazakhstan is no different: https://astanatimes.com/2018/06/buk... artificial water,long and 35 kilometres wide.

"The reservoir was created during the construction of Bukhtarma hydroelectric power plant on the Irtysh River in 1960."
 
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Nice dodge, and maybe it is somewhat true for the US (just somewhat https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_dams). But the situation very different in Europe and the former US. And Kazakhstan is no different: https://astanatimes.com/2018/06/bukhtarma-reservoir-offers-energy-and-entertainment/#:~:text=Bukhtarma, the largest artificial water,long and 35 kilometres wide.
Oops! You failed to read your own link:

"The reservoir’s power plant produces electricity and the water body creates favorable conditions for ships to travel along the river to Omsk, Russia. The reservoir is also used for irrigation and water supply to nearby settlements....." You also apparently failed to read my points about the largest dam in France, and in all of Europe, both of which were created for many reasons beyond power generation.

There's no difference between the US, nor Europe-- nor Kazakhstan.

Evaporation from a much, much smaller, man-made reservoir on its own are not enough to cause precipitation. Same goes for losses from industry, power generation, irrigation, etc.
Of course it is. Every gallon which evaporates, eventually precipitates. What goes up must come down. Where do you think that water goes?

If you prefer a more scholarly viewpoint, there are numerous resources to confirm my statement, such as: Investigating the mesoscale impact of artificial reservoirs on frequency of rain during growing season - Degu - 2012 - Water Resources Research. Or The influence of large dams on surrounding climate and precipitation patterns - Degu - 2011 - Geophysical Research Letters. Both of which found small, but statistically significant increases in local precipitation due to artificial reservoirs.

Such studies of course typically investigate only mesoscale influences (in the 100km range or less from the dam), because the global impact is sixth-grade science. Every drop of water that evaporates eventually falls back to the earth as rain.

Honestly, you're using hydro as a very bad strawman here. Hydro, because it only covers ~10% of the generation, doesn't have much effect on the overall consumption figure.
If you're versed in R, you can check the computations yourself.
You didn't read the study carefully. The underlying figures are from this reference: "The generation-weighted average WCFs of thermoelectricity and hydropower are 1.25 (range of 0.18–2.0) and 16.8 (range of 0.67–1194) L/kWh, respectively.

The WCF is the water consumption factor. Hydro may be a small portion of the mix, but far more water evaporates from a hydro reservoir than other sources, meaning it contributes an outsized impact.


 
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Sorry guys, I'll turn off the shower next time.
 
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Oops! You failed to read your own link:

"The reservoir’s power plant produces electricity and the water body creates favorable conditions for ships to travel along the river to Omsk, Russia. The reservoir is also used for irrigation and water supply to nearby settlements....." You also apparently failed to read my points about the largest dam in France, and in all of Europe, both of which were created for many reasons beyond power generation.

There's no difference between the US, nor Europe-- nor Kazakhstan.
It looks like the notion of order eludes you. You said that the dams are created for other purposes first. That is false, the fact that they use huge investments for multiple purposes doesn't change that they are built for hydroelectric power first.

Let me quote again for you:
"The reservoir was created during the construction of Bukhtarma hydroelectric power plant on the Irtysh River in 1960."
 
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It looks like the notion of order eludes you. You said that the dams are created for other purposes first. That is false, the fact that they use huge investments for multiple purposes doesn't change that they are built for hydroelectric power first.

Let me quote again for you:
"The reservoir was created during the construction of Bukhtarma hydroelectric power plant on the Irtysh River in 1960."

That may be true for Bukhtarma, and even many or most other projects, but not necessarily for all. It's also not the point of this conversation.

My primary disagreement with Endymio's arguments is on water cycle. I may be misinterpreting, but they seem to be saying that it doesn't matter how much water we use, because it all comes back eventually. The latter is entirely true. However you can use, and in many places we are using, the accessible fresh water faster than it's being replenished. Is that crypto's fault? Probably not, or at least its contribution pales in comparison to other factors. But the fact remains, and I will not back down on this, that we need to be good stewards of our water supply.
 
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Whoever calculated this has a serious problem or has no idea how BTC works.

Given the practically limitless energy radiated by the sun for us to harness and the abundance of water in our oceans, we shouldn't have this kind of problem (water shortages). I understand that those in power have their focus on priorities such as developing weapons that could lead to destructive conflicts and even a nuclear apocalypse. However, it's disheartening that in 2023, there are still people without access to clean drinking water.
 
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the abundance of water in our oceans, we shouldn't have this kind of problem (water shortages)
So much water on the globe yet so little that we can actually drink...
 
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That may be true for Bukhtarma, and even many or most other projects, but not necessarily for all. It's also not the point of this conversation.

My primary disagreement with Endymio's arguments is on water cycle. I may be misinterpreting, but they seem to be saying that it doesn't matter how much water we use, because it all comes back eventually. The latter is entirely true. However you can use, and in many places we are using, the accessible fresh water faster than it's being replenished. Is that crypto's fault? Probably not, or at least its contribution pales in comparison to other factors. But the fact remains, and I will not back down on this, that we need to be good stewards of our water supply.
The fact that the water equilibrium equation has ins and outs and equilibrium is maintained only if ins more or less equal the outs should be obvious to anybody with an average or above intellect. But what is happening here, as most of the time on this forum (and most fora that I know, for that matter), is that people are doing loads of mental gymnastics not to admit the truth because they don't like it. Hence the load of sophisms, and it's not because of a lack of understanding, it's in spite of.
 
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Desalination exists. 55-60% of Israel's water comes from desalination plants.

Yes, and comes with it's own challenges, primarily energy requirements and what to do with the resulting brine. Surmountable challenges, but definitely non-trivial.
 
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