29 Aug 2014

Do we have a RIGHT to use too much water?

After my radio interview with (libertarian) talk show host Bob Zadek (57 min), I got this email:
Are you aware of this document? Looks like the end game of the UN Environmentalists is 26 gallons per person per day worldwide, in the name of “sustainable development” and “smart growth”.
I replied:
I don't read it as you do,* but I agree with its principles. In places where water is scarce (i.e., NOT Chicago or Seattle), then it's a good idea to limit withdrawals for lawns (100 liters is PLENTY for indoor use) because of the environmental benefits to everyone.

Current water consumption is not, btw, a "property right" as the right to use is determined by public policy. That can (and should) switch to rebalance back from the over-consumption that was policy in the "water running to the sea is wasted" era. We know now that "ecosystem services" keep fisheries alive, clean water, prevent floods and balance droughts. We can replace those services, but at 10x the cost, so it's efficient to "reduce waste" IF you want a high quality of life.
I interpret her subsequent silence as agreement ;)
* Action 19: Develop policies to increase adequate access to safe drinking water, aiming at access for all by 2015. For cities with potable water consumption greater than 100 liters per capita per day, adopt and implement policies to reduce consumption by ten per cent by 2015