Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thinking About Water

I am about halfway through David Sedlak's excellent Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource.  This is one of the more interesting things I have read about water resources management:

"Let's take my local water utility as an example.  The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) provides water for about 1.3 million people and wastewater treatment for about 650,000 people in and around Oakland, California.  It has approximately two thousand full-time staff members, which makes it one of the largest employers in the area.  Put another way, about one of every five hundred people in my community works for the water utility.  If we were to count the people who rebuild reservoirs and treatment plants - workers who are often employed as contractors - the number would be considerably higher.  For comparison, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there is about one doctor for every five hundred people in the United States.  This means that the chances are about equal that a child born in my city will grow up to work for EBMUD or will become a doctor."

The New York Times also had a story today regarding water issues in San Antonio - Growing Water Needs Test San Antonio's Conservation.  From the article:

"Under pressure, Mr. Puente (the utility's president) agreed to reconsider a proposal to pipe water from underneath rural lands northeast of Austin.  But he also said the project would cost the utility $2.8 billion over 30 years and could require a 12 percent increase in water rates in just one year.  That would not be an easy sell in a region where water rates have jumped more that 50 percent in 10 years.  Some of the rate increases are paying for $1 billion ins sewer improvements after leaky pipes spilled more than 20 million gallons of raw sewage from 2006 to 2012."

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