Feb 4, 2012

Is Water Too Cheap?

Central Texas's largest newspaper ran "Rethinking Water" as it's front page feature last Sunday, a first. The article begins, "Is water too cheap?" Some highlights:
"Watering lawns will seem as crazy as throwing diamonds on our lawns; we're throwing the world's most important resource - clean drinking water - on the ground." 
Water delivery truck.

The Pedernales River,  July 2011, which feeds reservoirs northwest of Austin.
"Water right now is underpriced."
"For most of our recent history, we just treated (water) as if we had an unlimited supply of it. We're finding to our dismay that that's not true."
"Building water infrastructure under emergency situations is definitely not cheap..."
The cheapest strategy in the Texas Water Development Board's 2012 water plan is conservation, which would account for 24 percent of the new supply by 2060; the costliest, desalination, would account for about 3.4 percent of the new supply.
According to LakeLevels.info Austin's Lake Travis* is 54' below normal today, the second emptiest lake in the entire state. And the New York Times reported yesterday that Spicewood Beach, a small lake front community about 35 miles northwest of Austin, is out of water. Here's what the Colorado River looks like there:

*"More than one million Texans depend on the finite resources of the Colorado River and its Highland Lakes, including Lake Travis, as their primary source of drinking water, and more than 60,000 people depend on water from the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer." -- LCRA

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