Water, Water Everywhere but Not a Drop To Drink!
Rejoinder: Where is the Water Going?
Reality – water is disappearing
Copyright Vladimir Kagan – November 8, 2014
Though the earth is mostly covered with water, less than three percent of this is fresh and most of this is now contaminated.
It’s the most valuable commodity in the world.
It’s the most undervalued commodity in the world,
This brings us to a catastrophic water scenario!
Water waster - you and me flusing our toilets
We watch torrents of water flow down rivers and empty into the sea… We brush our teeth twice a day with water gushing from the tap down the drain… Old toilets use up to seven gallons with each flush (water savers use 1.5!)… I love luxuriating in a hot bath … over 35 gallons whirlpool down the drain. My lawn sprinklers wastes hundreds of gallons each summer… The neighborhood car wash gulps hundreds of gallons per day.
water waster you and me brushing our teeth with running water
water waster me luxuriating in a hot bath
BUT…all this is just a drop in the bucket!
The real culprit is industry waste and industrial farming: Yes, I said farming. Farmers are huge consumers of water… Some of the biggest farms are in the desert. Fruits and vegetables grow well there. These farms sit on millions of gallons of water in their underground watersheds… Abundant water and unlimited sunshine make desert farming ideal. The problem is that these watersheds are being drained by wasteful irrigation.
water waster a desert lemon grove running their water down an irrigation ditch
Ten years ago, my son-in-law, Matt opted to leave the profitable world of hedge funds and set out to save the world’s water! He is Don Quixote jousting at windmills. The hue and cry then was: “Yes, water is important, but hey there’s a lot of it”… (If you want to invest in commodities, go for gas, oil)… But the fact is: the world is running out of that good stuff. There’s no digging for it or praying for it. Gone is gone.
My son-in-law, Matt Diserio, as Don Quixote saving the world's water one drop at a time
There are huge reservoirs of water under the ground; farmers are sitting on millions of gallons in their aquifers. When properly used, it can benefit the farmer and the municipality…. And that is where Matt excels. How does a water-based company become one of the largest farm owners in the land? He partners with huge farms and installs efficient irrigation, which save millions of gallons of water to sell to municipalities… It’s a win-win situation. The farmer has a new cash crop; the city dweller can enjoy water as long as he turns the tap off wisely.
Industrial Pollution is also a culprit: industries use freshwater to carry away waste from their plants into rivers, lakes,aquifers and oceans. Hydraulic Fracking for oil uses million of gallons and in the process contaminate thousands of acres of land. Paper mills, mining, tanning, textiles, and the automotive industry poison millions of gallons.
water waster industrial waste such as power plants
A water utility in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is running out of water. It is astounding that Latin America’s biggest metropolis, the ninth largest city in the world, may be out of water by next month! The water left in its Cantareira reservoir, a four-lake complex that supplies half of Sao Paulo has already been drained of 96% of its water capacity! Sao Paulo metropolitan area could suffer “unprecedented collapse” if it doesn’t rain hard and soon…
You don’t have to go to South America to feel the pain. If you live in California, you know you can run out of the good stuff.
Matt’s water business, Water Asset Management, has him involved in all facets of water: the pipes that transport it; the reservoirs that store it – desalination that converts it – to irrigation and generation. One of their properties is deep in the Ruby Mountains; the plan is to build a storage dam on top, pump water up with solar and release the water through turbines to generate electricity when needed.
Since founding Water Asset Management (WAM), Matt and his partners have been writing and speaking about the role that private capital and full cost pricing is playing in the water industry. While water is one of the world’s largest industries consuming nearly $400 billion per year, its local nature and historical dependence on unsustainable government subsidization has made it one of the most inefficient industries in the world. To improve efficiency, and solve water supply and water quality problems Matt’s company, WAM, advocates tiered volumetric pricing. Matt says “Trillions of dollars of investment spending is needed to prevent the shortages in Sao Paulo from happening in L.A., Las Vegas, Beijing, Atlanta, Houston, and the list of global cities goes on and on. Governments have failed at managing their water supply and infrastructure through subsidies. Without adequate pricing to pay for all operating costs, capital, and future reliable supply, the world faces the risk associated with unsustainably cheap water as a water crisis is now reported almost daily in some parts of the world.”
Real world examples dispel the misperception that “water should be free”.