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If Earth Ran Out of Water

I have an absurd solution

It’s a well-known fact that Earth is running out of fresh water. As the human population is continually growing, many more water problems arise. Seems pretty unfair that we can only use 1% of all the water in the world. It’s another well-known fact that we need fresh water to survive. A bit of a problem we're facing here.

Though to solve this problem, let’s just say that humans could not pee. Well, they could pee but it would be, I don’t know… peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

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Wait a minute…

Much more accurate.

Yup, that’s right. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have become the new source of drinking water. The PB&J gives the same amount of hydration and energy as fresh water does.

Oh yeah, animals too.

As with water, these sandwiches cannot be reproduced but only when peed out from intaking drinking water. Humans and animals don’t need water to hydrate their thirst, now our source of hydration is the PB&J.

Amazing! Every animal and human being doesn’t need water as a necessity to live!

Now with the extra fresh water, we can grow more food, cook more, generate more energy, and a lot of other great benefits. The thing is, it’s all unbalanced. Hundreds of years ago we use to be fine with only being able to use 1% of all the water in the world. Now, the whole freshwater system has too many needs because of Earth's growing population. It’s still going to decline fast.

Although in the near future, we would presumably create some kind of high-tech machine that could turn saltwater into freshwater. An Elon Musk level machine that would resolve a renowned global problem. Not desalination, but something much faster, advanced, and cheaper.

The 97% of saltwater from the oceans becomes water we can use.

Humans are thriving as the world’s freshwater crisis has ended! Now we can shower for as long as we want, leave the water on while we brush our teeth, and jump into an ocean and not have salt all over. Overall, the world would become a much more sustainable planet. An Earth filled with only fresh water.

But back to the chart, when things are at a point of stable happiness, something eventually has to go wrong. It’s impossible for all life on Earth to be satisfied. If one is rich, the other has to be poor. If both are rich, then none are rich. Life is balanced.

Humans can’t be happy forever with the tremendous amounts of fresh water. As time goes on, the world’s population rapidly increases which causes Earth’s resources to crumble, including water.

Earth has run out of water to the point where there is no single drop of liquid on the planet. We would certainly die. Back to the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches approach.

We've got it covered.

What would happen? A world without any water while animals and human beings can still survive. The question has been thought about for decades but not at all with the perception of humans never needing to drink water again.

To better explain the hypothesis ‘If Earth Ran Out of Water’, let’s start with how long it would take to use up all our water.

Using Up All the Water in the World

As of 2021, without much scientific research, I would predict that all the water on Earth would run out by 2550. This excludes any sort of ‘finding water on another planet’ or ‘a miraculous year where water from nowhere rained down.’ Let me explain:

First, we have to understand how our water is distributed on Earth. Thankfully, USGS has done the hard work of finding a scientific estimate of where Earth’s water is.

This graph is an estimate of where all the water is on, in, and above the Earth.

Picture by USGS Where is Earth’s Water
Screenshot of graph by USGS Where is Earth’s Water

Let’s put that better into perspective:

Or this:

The 3% freshwater:

Darn, two-thirds of our fresh water is frozen. So why don’t we just melt it?

If there were to be an efficient way to melt and store the ice to become freshwater, we would have already done so. We can’t melt the icecaps or glaciers because… never mind we actually can! The problem though is that it’s very far away. To get the melted ice from all the way in the Antarctic to where we need now, it would be excessively expensive and resource-consuming, not worth it. Sometime in the future, if we were desperate enough we probably would start that process. But there come two problems.

1) The polar ice caps aren’t anyone’s to take. All that freshwater locked up in Antarctica isn’t claimed by anyone. If we did decide to start the process of transporting buckets of water from here to there, there would be huge fights about who should take it. If there ever were to be a war on Earth, it will be fought over water.

2) It’s already gaddamn melting. Due to the Earth heating up, if we don’t hurry now, the polar ice will melt until all the freshwater has been contaminated with the saltwater.

You see, saltwater has to be at a much lower temperature than fresh water to become frozen. Salt makes a liquid better keep and maintain a liquid state. It’s a reason why if you want to make something colder, add salt. Therefore, freshwater has little to no salt in ice caps or glaciers. Now, this was all fine until our dominance ruined all life on Earth. Earth became a frog stuck in a boiling pot and unless the people living in it try to make some effort into escaping, fresh water will be no more.

Though this is a hypothesis… let’s just say we could efficiently melt all the ice and turn it into fresh water.

In fact, let’s say we could gather all the freshwater we somehow can’t use.

How about atmosphere water?

Ground ice and permafrost:

Soil moisture:

Biological water seems to be the only water we should definitely not collect.

70% of the body is filled with water!

Okay, now that we did happen to collect all the fresh water in the world, I would predict that the world would run out by humans only drinking 3% freshwater in 43,696,896 years.

Allow me to explain: The average person drinks 3 litres of water per day. As of May 2021, our current human population is 7.9 billion people. 3 x 7,900,000,000 is 23,700,000,000. 23.7 billion litres of water drank per day. The total amount of water on earth is 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 litres. 3 percent counts for all of the freshwater so 3% of 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 is 378,000,000,000,000,000,000. 378,000,000,000,000,000,000 divided by 23,700,000,000 is 15949367088.6. It would take 15,949,367,088 days for 7.9 billion people to drink all the freshwater on Earth. 15949367088 divided by 365 is 43696896.1315. 43,696,896 years.

43,696,896 years. Wow, so we have lots of time. But remember, this only accounts for 7.9 billion people drinking 3 litres of water per day. This doesn’t account for any of the fresh water we already use for agriculture, mining, generating electricity, animals, and many other uses. All that combined uses much more freshwater than we drink. With all the other freshwater draining uses and our population inevitably growing, I’m not sure how to do the math for that.

Though scientists have predicted that our current freshwater source (378,000,000,000,000,000,000 litres minus all the water in ice, glaciers, and other things we included, as well as adding many other freshwater uses) will run out by 2040.

Perhaps a genius will find a clever way to convert the ocean’s saltwater to 100% freshwater in a fast and sustainable way.

Now we have another 97%.

It would certainly take centuries to use up all of the 97% of water. As a guess, I would say it would take about 500 years for all water on Earth to run out.

Someone would stop me right here and say that ‘using up all the saltwater converted freshwater would be inaccurate because of the water cycle’ and ‘all the water in the world isn’t going anywhere.’ But back to the PB&J approach. As we intake the freshwater we have, it converts into a PB&J sandwich. So, very slowly, because humans would rather prefer to drink water than a bland PB&J, water on Earth would decrease, very very slowly.

But remember, we always get PB&J after drinking water. So as time goes on, the world would inevitably be 70% filled with PB&J.

Water would become extremely valuable, a few drops would be sold for millions, PB&J would rule the Earth.

Yup, that’s it. Because we can’t make more water, if we use it all up, poof, it’s over.

The Earth Without Water

Imagine a world without water but 70% filled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We would suffer. Everything would suffer.

I have made a very unpleasant list of all the mains things that would happen without any water on Earth:

1) A Brown Depressing Earth

The world would become an ugly brown dot. Remember that water moisture from the soil we collected earlier? That was a mistake. All soil will harden and land will turn into this:

Photo by [2Ni] on Unsplash

2) Vegetation Dies

Withering away in a few weeks in the extremely dry air, all plants on Earth will inevitably die. Including trees. That’s another problem. Trees provide oxygen, trees die and so does the oxygen. But for our sake, let’s say we had a machine that lets us not have to breathe. Now, every human and animal has the ability to live a life without breathing.

Alright, as all plants die, we basically can’t grow any more food. After we finish all the remaining fruit and vegetables, our only source of food becomes animals. It must suck to be a vegan.

But then there's another problem. With no plants, vegetables, or fruit to feed the herbivores, guess what? They die. No more monkeys, cows, chickens, koalas, pandas, and 32% of all animals on earth. No more chicken wings, steak, ribs, or beef.

Our new source of food has become carnivores. Lion steak, cheetah legs, bear beef, are just some of the meals you will find eating for a short while. After that short while, the food becomes even more terrible. Due to the fact that many carnivores eat herbivores, they also unfortunately perish. Soon after, we have the pleasure of eating snakes, eagles, hawks and any other animals that eat other carnivores. It’s either they eat us or we eat them.

You might be thinking, well how about the fish?

3. Fish Die

Fish need water, fish have no water, fish die. Unless with the magical ability to grow legs and breathe the extremely dry air, all marine life will instantly suffocate. Darn, no more sushi.

4. Earth Becomes Hot

Our planet starts the eternal drought. Without the water cycle, life on Earth will become extraordinarily dry and hot.

The oceans we drained fed the water cycle. Moving water from the oceans to the clouds, then to the land, then back to the oceans, the water cycle is quite important. Without it, the only weather will be dry wind. No more clouds, rain, or snow. It will forever be a sunny-windy day.

Without the cooling effect of precipitation, the Earth becomes tremendously dry and hot. The burning of the withering plants leads to a fire and this causes huge amounts of CO2 emissions to release into the atmosphere, doubling or tripling the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. This turns to quicken global warming.

And that’s just the beginning.

5. Earth Gets Even Hotter

Earth becomes really hot. Hot as in flesh melting hot.

The oceans we drained earlier, that was a mistake. The oceans have a bigger role to play on Earth.

They absorb and disseminate the sun’s solar radiation. What this means is, the ocean water gathers the sun’s rays and scatters them throughout the Earth. The ocean regulates the temperatures around Earth and distributes heat past the equator.

This makes it so that it’s not too hot to survive in the middle parts of the Earth and not too cold to survive in the ends of the Earth. Due to the fact that we replaced all the ocean water with PB&J, we’ve come across a problem beyond repair. The rays from the sun would ignite the equator while distributing barely any heat to the north and south poles.

After many attempts of escaping, the frog in the boiling pot is cooked and ready to be served. Combining not having a water cycle, releasing a crap ton of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, and having no oceans, Earth would be at a temperature where popcorn kernels could instantly pop.

Sigh, if only I chose corn instead of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Some crap will definitely happen in the future if we keep doing what we’re doing. I only added the PB&J method to further explore and depress you on what would happen after humans die. The lesson here is, everything is connected. Once something as important as water is gone, everything crumbles, all the dominos fall.



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