Saturday, May 8, 2010

Water Use Comes Down to Money

The ultimate solution to water problems in Arizona will relate to money.  For example, charges for water in any dwelling, at least in Jerome, AZ, is charged according to the number of residents.

Use is not metered and – lacking meters –per person is the only practical method.  (Rumor has it that meters were purchased but subsequently stolen for their brass content – ironic in a billion-dollar copper camp.)

Water use is apparently governed only by pipe circumference and pressure, averages and the guesses of city administrators of what each of us will use to shower, shave, flush toilets, etc.

The question begs, “Can we conserve?” Of course.  The ways and means are obvious.

But, where’s the benefit?  If I conserve water, who cares?. . .My water bill won’t change.

While Jerome is irrelevant to the wider concerns of water use in Arizona, the problem persists for the majority of the state.

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) struggles along without budget or teeth.  People still refer to “sustained safe use”, the state still seeks development and, realistically, there isn’t a developer with a buck and a dream who can’t demonstrate the probability of a 100-year’s sustainable supply.   

Without minimal charges for essential, personal use and rapidly escalating ones for discretionary use, a luxury tax if you will, sustainable water use will remain elusive.