National Geographic just published an article titled Passing the Point of “Peak Water” Means Paying More for H2O.
You might be thinking: How can we have passed the point of peak water? How can there be a “peak water” when water is never used up? The answer is that because all fresh water supply and use is essentially local, water in that local area can be transferred, extracted, used, misused and thoughtlessly discarded faster than natural forces can replace it. Consequently, the Colorado River or Lake Mead or [insert your local river, lake or reservoir] may be drying up. Not only does that create a drinking water shortage, it severely impacts the ecology in and around that water body.
What the localized “peak water” condition also causes (as is the case with all imbalances of supply and demand) is high prices. Many experts, including the late water guru Ron Linsky, have written extensively about the value of water. Specifically, they make the point that we have tremendously undervalued water, and thereby have over-stimulated demand and encouraged waste, which also creates pollution.
So, higher water prices are coming, and that’s not altogether a bad thing from a resource protection perspective.
What we can do to help mitigate shortages, higher costs and pollution is to advocate for water conservation and reuse. Peak water is not inevitable if we “Know Our H2O” and implement practices that can make our water systems sustainable.