[Vision2020] Water: do the little things first

Nils Peterson nils_peterson at wsu.edu
Tue Apr 25 22:03:25 PDT 2006

Donovan Arnold wrote:
>   My apartment has a running toilet. I bet that ads up too, along with 1000s
> of other toilets in the city.
>   I say before we do something drastic and costly, we do the little cost
> effective things first.

While Ivey suggests that the water rates here are twice southern Idaho, they
are not enough to get Arnold or his landlord to fix a leaky toilet. If a
financial incentive through the water bill is not enough to get the little
kinds of savings done (which might be the case, judging from this sample of
one) what hope do we have of following the suggestion to do the little cost
effective things first?

And the Return on Investment/ payback period that Livingston asks about
isn't much more motivating -- I'm spending more money now because over some
period I'll break even and then begin saving. It would be nice to know the
payback period, and also the estimated savings per month per toilet. I'm
afraid the amount of savings is not going to be very motivating. My water
bill ran $20 in March. If I could save half that by conserving water that's
$10,  which is not nothing, isn't going to alter my life style more than a
few lattes. 

I think part of the problem is the answer, for whom am I saving the water?
is a hard one. 

I'm saving it for someone else to use (with what motivation?)
I'm saving it for myself to use later (with what assurance?)
I'm saving it because its important not to waste.

Going back to Solomon's water budget. Were we to agree that there is some
absolute cap on how much water we can responsibly pump, then we enter a zero
sum game. Its a dangerous game because it might halt growth. But its also a
game that makes my water savings worth something.

So, I get back to the earlier question. Where do you stand on the
fundamental question -- do we need to address the declining aquifer levels
or should we leave the problem for later?

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