As discussed in class today, water is not valued at the price it should be. For all of the benefits we gain from it and the benefits it provides to our ecosystems, the cost of water is nowhere near reflective of its value. On Earth, only 3% of the water is freshwater. Out of that, only about 1.2% is drinkable, with the rest of the freshwater essentially trapped in glaciers, permafrost, icecaps, or inaccessibly deep in the ground. We need to realize that water is a very precious resource that can in fact run out!! Without understanding its true value, as a society/collective whole we won't ever feel the urgency necessary to implement real changes to help reduce water waste. Sure, at a personal level we can do laundry less often to reduce water consumption and also the degradation of our clothing, turn off water taps while brushing our teeth, install valves into our showers so while you’re not actively rinsing off you can reduce the water flow and therefore waste. However, these interventions aren’t going to be as hard hitting as those of a larger magnitude.
Having access to recycled water solutions is an extremely expensive endeavor, especially at a personal level. So if we’re all going to be punished (in the long run ecologically) for water usage (and eventually shortages), should only the wealthy be able to convert their residential plumbing systems to reduce their water consumption? How is that fair?? Instead of placing the burden onto individuals- whose efforts can help, just at a smaller and more localized scale- collective changes need to be made. Policies could be made where any new homes and apartments being built must have a water recycling system that is factored into the cost of a home or unit (i.e. not on the individual). Or maybe prospective buyers could get a government subsidy if the home or unit they're purchasing has a water conservation system, acting as an incentive to buy that residence over a less sustainable one. This incentivising strategy could also apply to rental units. Maybe even landlords who own a certain percentage of a building and/or are making more than a certain amount of net revenue on rental income should pay a fee or need to implement a water recycling system. We could also charge companies/ corporations for their usage of water if it’s over a certain limit (thereby incentivising them to reduce their water consumption as a whole). At a more social level we, as consumers, could demand transparency about water consumption levels during production so we're more aware of the water waste generated by companies and products we choose to support with our buying power. Perhaps once we place prices on the overconsumption of water, we’ll start to realize the value water has and use it like the limited and precious resource it really is. However, I don't think that the onus of paying for water should fall on individual people as having fresh water to drink is a basic need of survival. Plus, individuals realistically have a lot less impact than governments, corporations, etc., therefore we should push for policy changes and social changes which have a better chance at causing changes #UnleashValues