Tuesday, April 07, 2015
How do you stop people from using one of life's essential resources -- water? This is the problem facing not only California but also Brazil. Every sector is affected. In California, farmers are drilling ever-deeper wells. In Sao Paulo, water is being delivered in tank trucks to some neighborhoods. Cutting water usage is a matter of persuasion, and the most powerful tool is price. Any PR campaign should begin with a market-rate set for water that induces greater care in its use. That won't convert everyone, but water bills will restrain the majority from over-use. As for groundwater, there is legislation needed to protect it. Farmers can be forgiven for drilling. They are feeding the nation. They have already taken 500,000 acres out of production, but they too must be persuaded that there are times when they can't afford to grow because of long-term damage to the land. This affects their livelihood and some might go out of business as a result, but drought shows no favorites. When an essential resource is threatened, governments must take strong measures.