Ten great cities dying of thirst in Wallstreet 24/7 points to a problem already serious in some cases, and during the 2007/2008 drought made readily apparent – our lack of will to address water infrastructure problems and replacement, and our use of water that is outstripping sources.
This report by Ceres and Water Asset Management (link repaired) shows that few participants in the
bond market—including investors, bond rating agencies, and the utilities themselves—
are accounting for growing water scarcity, legal conflicts and other threats in their
analyses. Some are even inadvertently encouraging risk by rewarding pricing and
infrastructure plans that encourage increased water use despite near-term supply
constraints. By overlooking these critical factors, all involved are allowing water risk to grow—and remain hidden—in the bond market.
Obsidianwings carries a post on water:
While the Republicans celebrate their historical victories, the Democrats lick their wounds, the bankers count their bonus money, and the rest of us try to hold on to our jobs, homes, and retirement savings, some large US cities are facing a real challenge:
They’re running out of water. (see above link)
No water is a real problem.
And not just an “I can’t water my lawn” problem. A”my city can’t generate electricity”, or “these millions of acres can no longer be productive agricultural land” problem, or “it’s going to cost me five times as much for water next year” problem.
Or, a “this city can no longer support it’s population” problem.
This country and its economy has, to a great degree, been living off of infrastructure built years ago. Decades ago. It’s wearing out, being used up, being overwhelmed by the increasing demand being put on it. It will take effort, and costs money – a lot of money – to rebuild.
I’m not seeing that happening. We have a reduced tax base because the FIRE sector blew the economy up, and because we’ve moved all of the non-tech middle class jobs offshore. It’s worth a Congressperson’s political life to suggest raising tax rates, on anyone, in any form, for any reason.
World bank and water describes the transnational ownership and distribution trade in water infrastructure, distribution, and human dimension for access to water for drinking and sanitation.
thanks for reminding me.
i have been in despair all day because of the idiocy of our political leaders and followers. i was thinking about Social Security, but you remind me there are even worse things they are doing, not doing.
A lovely example of the risks of mispricing.
Yes, there are real problems, infrastructure ones, cities out in deserts etc, problems which stem from decades long mispricing of that vital resource, water.
Come back north from the sun belt and take cold showers.
Son has removed from Atlanta, years ago I lived in central Tx.
Really not news if you been there.
Canadians worry about the foolishness of our neighbours (when not dealing with our own) and one huge concern has to do with water, and the energy that can be derived from it. We pay attention to water — a large slice of our electorate go into high alert if anyone suggests that our water might be turned into a commodity traded in bulk, rather than a commonly-owned resource.
But misuse and overuse is only a part of the water problem. The fact is, in the centre of the continent we have enjoyed, since the last ice age, an historically high level of water resources, and have as a result been able to make the prairies, from the Rockies to the Canadian shield, a rich cropland. But rising temperatures have been melting out glaciers in the Rockies and drying up watersheds, gradually reducing the viability of the prairie crops, if not prairie communities.
Bonds uphold communities, states, nations. It’s terrible if they fail, but not fatal. But drops in production of wheat and corn and canola, if severe enough, lead to famines.
Dan, your ceres link is not working.
I have a post on California water and discussion on complexities there.
If memory serves AB has a series on water use, Great lakes and such from 2008. Maybe the new republican governors will try to privatize the lake water to balance budgets. 🙂
Well, it would take a whole series to outline the complexities. California use and need is very different from Atlanta and the legal issues of Lake Lanier between states, and is different than the Mississippi watershed. In NE in MA I can be charged $150 for a 3 month use but the automatic sewarage charge based on the quantity would be another $350, for example, a different pricing than farm use.
1. Key point is that growth (here growth implies greater amounts of water, less the idea of less use even if growth) is outstripping supply, not that the physical supply is exhausted, which is a whole nother problem and common in other parts of the world.
2. Bonds are simply an indication of the notion of commons use and the notion of water as a commodity, in this case by the really big guys, Nestle being one of the smaller water companies. Watersheds and aquifers are little understood by many as physical complexities much less financial.
3. WTO and treaty agreements are complex and cut across common notions by Americans of ownership and control.
4. Our infrastrucure is wholy inadequate to the task…estimates are in $ trillion arena to repair. Raise taxes?? Boston loses maybe half in distribution to leakage. (no links yet) And we are not in crisis.
Living down here in Texas, water is a big issue. Especially since Texas has been experiencing a high growth rate (comparitively) for the last decade. Almost all the big cities are building lakes to catch rainwater for use. I remember the last big push was in the late 80s early 90s when 5 new lakes opened around DFW. I know of projects to buid more lakes in east Texas to supply water that are on-going. And we have a few huge projects around DFW to corral more water in teh final planning stages.
The big issue is Austin and San Antonio which get the bulk of their water from an aquifer that is dropping rapidly. Its a huge issue that may seriously limit the growth of these two cities.
Lots of issues but a transcontinental pipeline from the Great Lakes should solve the problem…
Islam will change
Well one poke in the eye for Rusty and ilsm….but who recompenses for lost shipping and trade when the water level drops an inch or so in one of the Lakes?? And at what price???
Buff, oh no! Noni, Stormy, Rusty, JzB, and several others here are about to erupt. 🙂
I find the water argument is being carried on by the same group that pushed AGW, CO2, future Ice age. etc. There is no shortage of water! Afer all 70% of the planet is covered with it. There may be growing shortages of cheap, cheaply accessible water in some primarily arid areas.
Not repaired for me, yet. I’m now getting a blank page.
Feeling a bit slighted CoRev, you don’t suppose water makes me erupt?
I might add that while 70% of the planet is covered in water, a small fraction, very small, is fresh water.
And you need to be rich a Imirs to afford changing large amount of sea water to fresh.
Unless you are the US Navy with nuke reactors.
Maybe instead of buying reactors for the navy the opportunity costs could go to reactors in San Diego and Long Beach for desal plants………………….
Over the past forty years we have moved tens of millions of people into areas with well known water shortages.
The technical name for this public policy failure is DUMB.
There are of course many reasons, ranging from warm weather to companies fleeing unions.
This is a problem that probably cannot be fixed with any amount of money.
Might be cheaper to decomission the nuke navy and put those reactors and the waste pupport into de salination plants.
ilsm will not change
Then again, you can also get this scenario in pricing:
May bills will reflect the new rates, and customers can expect to pay from 12 percent to 25 percent more depending on the type of property, location and services, officials said. The commission serves Chatsworth, Eton and about 70 percent of Murray County, General Manager Tom Martin said
Mr. Burke said customers are using less water, so the commission is seeing less revenue.
He said customers used about 76 million gallons in 2004 and about 68 million gallons in 2009.
“Industrial usage has (gone) down tremendously; the housing market is dead,” he said.
The Great Lakes states already have a compact to prevent the environmental disaster that a water pipeline would entail. The feds are on-board I believe. Water levels are already down on average anyway.
Sorry Buff, fix your own mess.
Real men enjoy winter.
Before I bought my property in Northern California I determined that the water was less then 30 feet beneath my feet. This is huge, because I have nearly an acre with multiple dwellings and lots of fruit and nut trees, yet it costs me $40 per annum to pay the well house meter.
It’s raining right now. I hate the rain, but I need the water. People in Southern California want my water and are trying to legislate to enable them to meter my well and to realocate the usage of the Sacremento river.
Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over according to Mark Twain. Water shortages are going to a huge problem going foward.
Egypt will have no chioce but to go to war, when the nations controlling the sourses of the Nile triple in popultion over the next forty years, and reduce the Nile to a trickle.
Enviromentalists in the States applaud immigration because the think that it will give there party, the Democratic party a perminate majority, but they give no thought about how we will provide potable water to a nation of 600,000,000 people in 2050.
Detroit, the mid west in general, could boom, good work for the UAW and all that steel that could be made!!
Might be cheaper to decomission the nuke navy and put those reactors and the waste support into desalination plants.
Maybe Nevada will (stop opposing) open the national nuclear waste center if they get some “rights” to desalination performed in nuclear plants.
ilsm will not change
I makes me more than a little nervous to know we in the SW get our water and electricity from the Hoover Dam, so if the Rockies melt off traveling down the Colorado River doesn’t meet demand, then we are out of water AND electricity. Then Rockies’ oil shale and/or natural gas is supposed to be one of our big future untapped resource plays, and the runoff from that could poison the Colorado River.
Talk about a triple threat.
P.S. Real men play tennis in 105F AZ heat.
Rusty, sure it can be fixed with money. That is the core of Dan’s premise. Will it be affordabel wonce fixed? Dunno, but price can certainly impact human migration patterns.
If it’s any consolation, the water situation in China is supposed to be much, much worse.
Learn to drink salt water……………………….
I will keep with the scotch whisley, it is patriotic.
sure. we will just buy bottled water.
We Scots invented Wiskey to keep the Irish from taking over the world. Personally I prefer Whiskey neat and made of rye.
I did spend teenage years in Milwaukee when one year we had -20F for the entire month of February. Then worked in Chicago a couple of years and went thru the Blizzard of ’79 (89 inches of snowfall). After that my company inquired if I was amenable towards a transfer to Los Angeles. What could I say?
I was just trying to stimulate a conversation! Texas is actually doing fairly well in keeping up with water needs, just trying to catch up with the growth we are getting as all the Californians are piling in.
Maybe we will just run the pipeline from the Mississippi!
Islam will change
Bottled water coming from the pipes out of teh great lakes to the battler and shipped to the SW!!!
Islam will change
I grew up just south of Cleveland. I got out as fast as I could. The weather was not the reason – it was the fact that there was no future in the rust belt. The glory days when the Chicago-Detroit-Pittsburg area powered the US are long gone. I might have ended up in California but the hand-writing is on the wall there also.
We will find the water, not move the people.
And cursed is correct – places like Egypt will go to war over it.
Islam will change
People pay $10 a gallon for bottled water yet complain about $3 gas.
The Mississippi can be fed from the top end too by running a feeder pipeline from Lake Michigan.
True, ouiska beatha was first distilled in an abbey somewhere in Scotland, spread to Ean nglish abbey.
When Henry VIII took over the abbeys the abbot in one took the waters of life commercial.
And the rest is history.
I prefer neat and single malt, Macallan is very smooth. Jamesons or Johnnie Walker Red on occasion ,neat.
Otherwise when I really have my mind set, an Arrogant Bastard beer is good. They may export it from San Diego to your part of Ca.
See, I just know you folks could/would come up with a solution.
Works for me. Here is the http
Not everything can be fixed even with piles and piles of money.
I’ll be in merry old England next week. Since I can get my hands on good scotch any suggestions?
Buff: trying watering the lawn or the cattle with bottled water! :))
and now you know.
(real men don’t live in LA)
[btw, i can say that because i lived in LA for ten years, and some of my best friends…]
buy stock in Pepsi.
rusty. your average texan buys lone star in a can and waters the lawn himself. i don’t know about cattle.
a lovely story, but the Scotti were just the first Irish to leave home on accounta not having a sense of humor.
I live in Milwaukee now and have for the last 34 years. The worst cold snap I remember was like 106 hours where the temeperature never got to zero–that is Farenheight. Now the Twin Cities–that is cold. As to what real men do, at least a couple of buddies and I think it is camping in January in western Wisconsin’s coulee country. We think the temperature bottomed out around zero farenheight. No shivering, but not real restful when your back hits a cold spot on the sleeping bag. We did learn some things however–like putting water in the coffee pot while it is still liquid–it is real hard to melt water in plastic containers over a cook stove. It would cost me about 20K to put a well in down to the aquafir out there–400 feet through rock. I tend to carry out cheap Lake Michigan water when I go camping, but I am studying a cistern system. One of the issues with desalinization plants I understand is what to do with the salt. We can use some of it to melt snow and ice on our streets , but that raises the salinity of our fresh water resources and there tends to be less need for snow melting salt in the driest places near salt water. I still think the energy source of choice for desalinization plants is wind because you can store your product for use during periods of low wind–ie you do not need a constant source of energy although admittedly that does increase your capital costs.
Hmm. The same thing happened to us here in Winnipeg, or will once they vote on it:
On the other hand, our public insurance company that handles car insurance, just set up a 10% rebate for their 2010 car insurance rates. They wanted 12, but the public utilities board disagreed. They also got a 4% reduction for policies in coming years. Sweet.
What a silly conversation! But I suppose I would not have read this far into it if I were not a sucker for foolishness.
The thing is, you pussies up North better hope that we Texans never run short of water for our cattle.
Cedric–Funny thing you mention the winter of ’79. Remember Mayor Bilandic? One term mayor after John Daley ruled the world for 40 or so years. Why? Didn’t plow the streets, right? I too went back to California. But, I went to Marin. What could I say? Don’t throw me in that briar patch, Brer Fox? NancyO
Prefer a nice single malt Scots whiskey. Macallan’s is excellent. But, Laphroaig is interesting and has amazing legs. Reminds me. Need to check out this year’s shipment of affordables since it will soon be Hochmanay. But, ye niver know could be a new one managed to come South for the winter. And y’all kin all keep yer comments about the Scots to yerseln. I am now soliciting volunteers for First Footer, who must be dark-haired (formerly dark-haired is good enough.) Had enough of the Vikings in the 8th century. NancyO
Isle of Skye. NO
That’s not nice, Mr. RIL. Besides, y’all have the Rio Grande already. That’s enough, surely. NO
It was around ’72 or ’73. Maybe it was just nightime temps that were -20F. Since then they tell me it has been in a multi-decade warming cycle and things aren’t as bad.
Interesting idea about wind to water. Efficient use of peak wind.
LA has any kind of man you can imagine.
He couldn’t plow the streets because the plows couldn’t throw the snow high enough to get over the snowbanks on the side of the road. They acually were using steam shovels and dump trucks, then driving the snow to Lake Michigan and dumping it.
But I do recall he lost the next election for not plowing the streets. Chicago voters are tough.
They know that’s the best way to add fertilizer.
Same thing happened here. But I think that is the “normal” scenario. They told us cap expenditures and payroll is still going up and revenue is down, so prices go up.
The agreements on Great Lakes water use do not simply involve the Great Lakes states, but also Canada. Speaking as someone who lives in the land of 10,000+ lakes, one Great Lake and the headwaters of the Mississippi, we’ll keep our water, thank you. We like it cold and wet. Yesterday’s blizzard was very nice.
I’m feeling talky today… Someone mentioned transportation and water. Coal comes into Duluth by train from the west and then is loaded onto lake boats to be carried downlake. If the water level drops, then the cost of coal for power plants goes up. The boats also carry iron ore, limestone and grain. Ocean freighters come into Duluth, bringing — among other things — turbines for windmills. (There is a lot of wind in western Minnesota and the Dakotas.) Those turbines are really big. They have to use Dutch jumbo freighters to bring them in, one turbine per freighter. Again, costs will rise.
If enough water is sucked out of the Mississippi, then it will not be possible to move bulk goods, including grain and coal, via the river. That will raise prices.
So, what is more important to the world? Green lawns in Phoenix and Las Vegas or less expensive food and energy?
As far as raising grain and cattle on the short grass prairie goes, I think the Poppers are right. Bring back native grasses and bison. Bison evolved to live on the prairie. They are very low maintenance, and also restful to look it. I figure we could meet our protein needs with free ranging bison and the market hunting of white tail deer.