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« TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 16 - 22 September 2017 | Main | Water, Volume 9, Issue 9 (September 2017): Groundwater, Surface Water, Quality, Management, Basins, and More! (Open Access) »

Saturday, 23 September 2017


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Ed Bourque

Water, by its nature, is a location and quality-specific good. Globally, there's plenty of it, and any scarcity that does is exist is spatial (regionally, etc) and temporal (droughts, etc) in nature. It's not evenly distributed across the planet spatially (if it was , we'd all be under water) and it is not meted out equally to every person on the planet.

It's also heavy (1 kg per liter) and of uneven quality and drinkability (for reasons of quality, salinity, etc).

For all these reasons, I think that discussions of IWRM-level use are nuanced and different from those of drinking water.

The former is a natural resource management exercise, where, sadly, there are endless examples of poor management. Efficient pricing and markets do not seem to rule the roost in IWRM too often. Unaccountable decisionmaking often does.

In many countries, drinking water provision is often highly affected by underfunded and poorly run utilities that have very small and relatively poor customer and potential customer bases.

Drinking water is service delivery. It is often purified and transported water...In some cases it is not purified and self-transported in buckets.

Purified, piped, and delivered water has a much higher value, so you'd think that the much higher per-unit value for drinking water would limit the number of situations where utilities are desperate for a steady supply of bulk water. Nope. The bureaucrats and the ministers just decide! (thumbing their noses at the public, rationality be damned)

(Having said this, the amount of water pushed through a utility is really not all that drives access. Utility coverage and the affordability and provision that affect that are bigger factors.)

As far as I have seen, water markets are dysfunctional.

I'd love to read case studies of effective water markets. Could you point me to any?



I see this as a rhetorical questions as “value” has been placed on water long ago when we allowed it to become a commodity for sale...That potable is increasingly becoming more difficult to obtain world bu$$ine$$ interests will unquestioningly choose to own all the water they can enabling them to $ell it at exorbitant prices at Amazon did in Florida to those facing hurricanes...

Elaine J Hanford

The video also fails to ask the critical question with regard to water - be it surface or undergound:

"Who is responsible for the pollution of our water?

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