Chapter Nine: Water Rights and Water Costs

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”

Benjamin Franklin, 1746

Many of us think little about buying a 500 ml bottle of water at a cost of maybe $1. However, in reality this is more expensive than gasoline. Translated into liters and gallons it would be $1 million per thousand liters (264 gallons). In contrast, we balk at paying higher prices for our domestic tap water. In Canberra, Australia, for example, there is public upset when the domestic water tariff goes over Aus$3.70 (US $3) per thousand liters. Furthermore, this water is perfectly fit to drink. The concern over paying for water arises because people have grown up believing that access to water, at minimal cost, is essentially ...

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