We have all been watching the severe and significant water situation in the Western states, but this one in Upstate New York that made it to the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. Here is a link to the local newspaper that offers some interesting insights.
The question we should all consider is “who has the rights” to what water we do have and what should everyone pay for access to this water. Sure, you can dig your own well, but most will not, so water is a public service and therefore should be regulated. But even when you have the right, do you have the right to use whatever you want or say you need?
Power companies in Europe reversed this years ago when customers built new buildings and needed electricity. The local power company sized the transformers to limit the power the building could use and thereby forced customers to consider energy efficiency and load management (thermal storage) in their designs. That certainly is one way to limit situations.
But, water availability can be highly variable because it is often a direct result of the local weather. Here in Atlanta, we have had periods of drought. And, sure enough, during one of them an unwitting person released too much water from our water supply (Lake Lanier) to manage downstream water levels for navigation. Nobody was terribly inconvenienced. Yes, lawn watering was controlled. But, everyone had plenty of water to drink and perform daily functions.
But, the key question remains: do you have the right to use as much as you say you need? Making string cheese for sale to others around the country seems a bit beyond local need. Shouldn’t the plant using that much water have been required to seek a permit to do this? Where are we going in the future if we are not careful.
I certainly don’t want to have my life disrupted just because Kraft Cheese can sell more string cheese! Do you??