Preventing Water Wars

Preventing Water Wars

Thirst will drive countries to war. Can Hydrogen Planes spreading potable water quench their thirst, grow crops, lower CO2, and lower climate migration? It might solve many problems, one flight at a time.

Countries bordering mountains that depend on the runoff to feed their streams will become desperate for water when the ice caps melt.

A solution is to convert all long-haul flights to hydrogen fuel, which would water the planet with the equivalent of one or two Lake Tahoes a year.

The extra humidity will help refreeze the poles, re-snow mountain caps, swell rivers, and the extra clouds reflect light back into space.

Welcome to
Puzzle Drop Monday

The countries most vulnerable are Iraq/Iran, India/Pakistan, Ethiopia/Somalia, and even parts of the US and Canada.

The refugee crisis is everyone’s and every country’s burden.

Essentially, there are four ways to get the water we need.

In order of ease and affordability.

  1. The status quo is rivers, streams, and shallow wells.
  2. Pull water out of the air.
  3. Desalinization of seawater
  4. Dig very deep wells on a commercial scale.
  5. Import all the water the population needs

For the first two: how can we put more moisture into the air using a systems approach?

The contrails from existing long-haul air travel are carbon, and the contrails of hydrogen planes are potable water.

By our calculations, if all long-haul flights were powered by hydrogen, it would deposit and redistribute the equivalent of two Lake Tahoe’s of potable water each year.

This added humidity would flow down mountains to prevent water wars and help refreeze the polar caps, and it’s lack of CO2 emmissions would help stop global warming.

This Week’s
Political Puzzle

Hydrogen Airplanes

Should Commercial Airflight Switch Over to Hydrogen Fuel?

— In-Favor of —
Hydrogen Planes

We use an EMIT model to find the key signals in the noise. Emotions, Money, Interests, and Timespan.

  • Water is cheaper than war (5): Highlighting the peace-promoting benefits of water security.
  • Democratizes potable water out of thin air (13): Making clean water universally accessible promotes equity.
  • Hydrogen & H2O harvesting profits & jobs (25): Economic growth through new industries and employment opportunities.
  • Green hydrogen innovation is happening (19): Economic opportunities arising from advancements in clean energy technologies.
  • The science exists to make this feasible (1): Validating the technical viability of hydrogen-powered aviation.
  • Increased clouds reflect sunlight (17): It’s likely that clouds are a net climate positive.
  • Will eventually decarbonize air travel (21): While e-fuel are a great bridge, hydrogen is currently in the lead as the cleanest option.
  • Need more white snow and ice for the Albedo effect (23): Light surfaces reflect heat into space, and dark surfaces absorb the heat into the planet.
  • People need 500 gallons of water a year (3): Addresses the annual water needs critical for human survival.
  • World governments could support hydrogen (7): The potential for long-term policy support for hydrogen technologies.
  • Climate change is net bad for business (9): Protects the future economy from unchecked climate change.
  • Helps avoid 1B climate refugees by 2050 (11): The urgency of action to prevent long-term humanitarian crises.
  • No potable water = no food (27): The immediate and ongoing necessity of water for food production.
  • Seawater intrusion may ruin freshwater (29): Rising sea levels may cause long-term damage to vital freshwater resources.
  • Increasing alarms about drought (31): The growing concern over water scarcity in the near future.
— Against
Hydrogen Planes

We use an EMIT model to find the key signals in the noise. Emotions, Money, Interest, and Timespan.

  • Hydrogen is volatile (6): Safety concerns due to the reactive and flammable nature of hydrogen.
  • Increased clouds trap heat (18): Worry about potential unintended consequences of climate interventions.
  • Drought claims are fear-mongering (32): A perspective that downplays the immediacy of drought concerns.
  • Fewer H plane seats = more expensive travel (2): The economic implications of the reduced seating capacity on hydrogen planes.
  • Hydrogen needs heavy investment (4): The financial burden of developing hydrogen infrastructure.
  • Fossil fuel is abundant & affordable (14): The cost advantage of sticking with readily available fossil fuels.
  • The private sector can sell water (16): Commercial opportunities in the privatization of water.
  • Will help fuel even more green inflation (30): Concerns over the economic impact of transitioning to green technologies.
  • Desalination is a better option (8): Presents an alternative solution for water scarcity.
  • Airflight’s not broke don’t fix it (22): Suggesting that existing aviation methods are sufficient.
  • EVs are better for short hops (24): Proposes electric vehicles as a more immediate solution for short-distance travel.
  • Hydrogen has to be kept too cold (26): Technical challenges with hydrogen storage and transport.
  • New alloys needed for new storage tanks (28): The need for material innovations for hydrogen storage.
  • Climate change is good for business (10): A controversial take on the economic effects of climate change.
  • Current fleets might not be convertible (12): The long-term challenge of adapting existing aircraft for hydrogen use.
  • E-Fules are a better solution (20): Renewable fuels are are easier and faster than fleet replacement.

The PolicyKeys weekly puzzle is a great classroom tool.


Randers, J., & Goluke, U. (2020). An earth system model shows self-sustained melting of permafrost even if all man-made GHG emissions stop in 2020. Scientific Reports, 10.

Pak, J. (2016). China, India, and War over Water. 
The US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters

Hydrogen-powered aviation and its reliance on green hydrogen infrastructure – Review and research gaps
Science Direct

1.2B Climate refugees by 2030
Zurich Insurance Group

‘No Winners” Seen if States Launch Water Wars Amid Mega Drought
Bloomberg Law

Cooling Effect of Clouds Underestimated
World Economic Forum

Why Clouds Are the Key to New Troubling Projections on Warming
Yale e360

How much water is produced by fuel cell cars

The Growth in Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Commercial Aviation
Environmental and Energy Study Initiative

Are India and Pakistan Headed for Water War?
Deutsche Welle

Is Hydrogen Air-Powered Travel the Future
TU Delft

Water Conflict

Democratizing Drinking Water By Taking it from Thin Air
Asia Development Blog

Hydrogen for clean energy could be produced from seawater
Sustainability Times

Grey, bluer, green—why are there so many colours of hydrogen
World Economic Forum

Revolutionary Green Energy: A New Hydrogen Fuel Cell Breakthrough

Hydrogen: coming to an aircraft near you
Aerospace America

Causes of Drought: What’s the Climate Connection?
Union of Concerned Scientists

New Study Identifies Mountain Snowpack Most ‘at-risk’ from Climate Change

Water Conflict Pathways and Peacebuilding Strategies
United States Institute of Peace

Water scarcity could lead to the next major conflict between Iran and Iraq
Middle East Institute

Total fuel consumption of commercial airlines worldwide between 2005 and 2021, with forecast until 2023

Drinking Water
World Health Organization

Recovery and quality of water produced by commercial fuel cells
Science Direct

What’s the Percentage of Drinkable Water on Earth?
World Water Reserve


It takes guts to see things from all four sides of the political table.