Don’t take water for granted

by David Zetland (originally published at The one-handed economist)

Don’t take water for granted

In his 1987 hit, “Diamonds on the soul of her shoes“, Paul Simon sings:

She said, “You’ve taken me for granted
Because I please you
Wearing these diamonds”

This lyric, although a bit paradoxical, has always resonated with me, and I’ve applied it in many “taking-for-granted” situations.

One of them concerns clean water, which most of us have certainly taken for granted, and in a way that is naive (to people who do not have access to affordable, clean water) as well as dangerous (the value of water in our lives is so high — relative to its price — that we do not think of the disastrous consequences of losing access to that water).

Well, it’s worth thinking about, as the end of abundance starts to bite into our water consuming habits.

We have less and less clean water because our actions — direct in terms of mining ground water or polluting surface water and indirect in terms of climate change and water embedded in animal products — are making it so.

And those actions rarely consider what would happen if we had no clean water — let alone no water at all.

“You’ve taken me for granted because I please you, flowing this water”

My one-handed conclusion is that a lot of people are going to be surprised and upset as “their” water disappears in volume, decays in quality and increases in cost, until we no longer take it for granted. Beware.