Monday, February 27, 2012

Price Could Provide Solution to Water Scarcity


While a newbie resident to the Southwest, I've backpacked out here for 30 years primarily in the Superstition Wilderness where I would plan daily segments on a topo map from one spring to another. 

I remember the surprise one day when I found that the local Safeway in Cottonwood was selling gallon jugs of water for less than it was being sold in Cleveland, OH (bottled, of course, in New York).

About that time I read Charles Bowden's Killing the Hidden Waters and realized I wasn't crazy...at least there was one other person thinking as I was.

Water is a diminishing resource and should be taxed or priced as such.

The small town of Clarkdale, Arizona, has restructured its water rates and found that usage dropped by 50%.

Growing population in the state is part of the problem and, candidly, I've thought endlessly for a solution of how one would control population in Arizona.

Part of the problem will have to rest in price or rate structure...not a popular solution these days.

Tax water use to a level that prohibits lush lawns in Phoenix, tax it to a level that prohibits economical establishment of cotton farms in southern parts of the state, tax it to the extent that makes stock/stock tanks uneconomical, tax it so you question flushing the toilet every time you pee.

Charge enough so that makes an 8,000 gallon swimming pool in Phoenix a true luxury
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The first year or two I was out here, water wasn't an issue.  I've noticed, increasingly, that one water issue or another is becoming a factor in mining or, less so, the weather. 

Realistically, a water inventory for the state needs to be established and maybe the results will point the way to a solution.