…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing. Julia Child
Have you experienced sticker shock after seeing a water bill lately? You’re not alone. After planting and starting up the sprinkler system this spring, a recent bill made me second-guess my commitment to the yard. Water prices have been a hot topic lately, and for good reason. Residential water prices have increased an average of 7.3 percent over last year in 30 major U.S. cities. So what is causing this spike in water rates?
Increasing scarcity – Warming temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns and rising sea levels aren’t only bizarre, they directly affect our water supply. When you couple that with the growing population and increasing demand, the pressure on our global water resources is at an all time high.
Aging infrastructure – This challenge is two-fold. Outdated infrastructure throughout the United States leaks more than 1 trillion gallons of water each year – wasting this limited resource and money. And local government often turns to taxpayers to help fund new infrastructure or make repairs, causing local water prices to increase.
Natural resources intersecting – Water and energy are closely intertwined (this is often referred to as the water-energy nexus). It takes water to generate and transmit electricity, and electricity is used to collect, clean, move, store and dispose of water. Many industries, such as agriculture and manufacturing, are heavily dependent on water and energy. So going back to classic supply and demand, when the supply of one of these resources is limited, demand increases and you see prices rise everywhere from your utility bills to the grocery store – yes, that’s part of the reason you just paid $4.00 for a gallon of milk.
Education is the first step in addressing the water issues we face. As a country, we need to make sustainability a top priority. You can become part of the solution by adopting water conservation habits and raising awareness in your community. And yes, you will also save some hard earned cash!
Stay tuned for the final post in my three-part series, “Weighing the Costs: Water versus energy,” and check out previous posts for more every day water conservation ideas.