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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 127360  
Subject: Re: Showering with Uncle Sam Date: 1/12/2006 8:51 AM
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What reason is there for me to reduce water consumption? It is cheap and plentiful--and cost prohibitive to divert if from the mississippi/ohio basin to locales in which is is not plentiful. Thus, to the extent that it interferes with the enjoyability of showering, it is a bad thing.

Actually, to coin a phrase, it's not that simple.

Water tables across the United States have been dropping for decades as acquifers have been pumped out for various industrial and consumer uses. There are many ramifications, from the inability of those receding groundwaters to wash away pollutants as efficiently as they once did to the simple inability of people to get water to subsidence of ground as it sinks to replace the volume of liquid which has disappeared. (And there are others.)

There have been, and continue to be "water rights" fights across the country for years, the most recent being on the Colorado River, where California has been accused of taking more than its allotted (and negotiated) share. That may make the farmers in San Diego happy, but it doesn't do much for those in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, or the four other states continguous to the river, nor Mexico, which also depends on it very happy. There are obvious trickle-down effects of raising the price of water for farmers in San Diego, for instance; the price of broccoli goes up in Michigan.

Water is "so cheap and plentiful"? Sometimes. Not as much as many people think. Tampa just installed a desalination plant at a cost of over $100 million because they can't keep up with water demand, and other cities in the south are facing similar problems. Now what's a better way to deal with it? Keep increasing water prices for everyone? Or try to get people to conserve a little by mandating lower-flow toilets and showerheads?

Obvious this is a complex issue, and only a part of it hinges on the consumer. Much more is on industry and farming; but two little measures: the showerhead and toilet save hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water every month across the country.

It seems a small price to pay, particularly since it is so easy to defeat if you are one of those wingnuts to whom your only response to every attempt to ameliorate a problem is "OH MY GOD, THE GOVERNMENT IS FORCING ME TO TAKE A LOW-FLOW SHOWER AT THE POINT OF A GUN."

Really. Try to get some perspective, and even better, read a little about it. Try finding something on "the tragedy of the common", which is a perfect case scenario for how water has been treated throughout history, and you will have a better understanding.

Then unscrew the 2¢ plastic washer in your showerhead and SHUT UP.
 
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