Who is to Blame For Water Consumption – Dams or People?
Giuliano Di Baldassarre, who is a professor of hydrology in Sweden’s Uppsala University, once said that communities are made less resilient due to dams and other water-related infrastructure. The reason he states is that it hides when droughts are occurring. When communities don’t notice droughts, they won’t be reducing their usage of water until a shortage becomes critically dire. It forces a reckoning to happen sharply. It’s like when an area has a levee to be protected from minor flooding, which leads to developments being made right inside the floodplain. It makes those people easily vulnerable to significant flooding.
You might think it’s something people already thought about, but most developing countries are beginning to make more dams. A significant water supply source is conservation. In the United States, Americans use an estimated 20% less of water when they get appliances and such that are water-efficient. All over the United States, water leaks in their homes result in over nine hundred billion gallons of water wasted each year. That much water is how much water is used by almost eleven million households. The numbers don’t include municipal systems’ leaks.
An alternative method is to have a way to capture rainfall wherever it lands. It’s not efficient to make all the rainwater flow out of the cities. Areas that experience dry weather most of the time are using this kind of tactic. For example, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power use this tactic. They obtain almost thirty thousand acre-feet of rainwater each year. Their goal is to get about one hundred fifty thousand acre-feet of rainwater each year by 2035. That much water would be able to supply more than two hundred fifty households.
It is an excellent potential resource to be reusing water. It doesn’t matter if it’s for drinking, industry, irrigation, or even flushing a toilet. An example is how California reused almost a million acre-feet solely composed of recycled water. That much water is nearly 13% of how much wastewater is generated. An analysis was done in 2014 by the Pacific Institute. They estimated that California’s annual potential for reused water is an added couple hundred thousand acre-feet each year. The leaders when it comes to reusing water is California, Arizona, and Singapore. However, more places are starting to focus on reusing water.
There can be significant impacts on the world because of conservation. However, the demand for water each year is rising exponentially across the globe. Better regulation is the answer to having annual water usage profligated. It might be wise to suppress demand by making the price of water higher. When water becomes a scarce resource, it will often be free or close to free. Dams aren’t necessarily a bad thing. But when there are plans for new dams, people should be thinking about the effects it will have on the long-term. They should try and see how they weigh against the costs and benefits on society, the environment, and the economy. It is essential that people not hesitate to protect the future. Once people live somewhere thanks to a dam being built, you can’t move them away.