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A roundup of the latest issues surrounding water 

The provision, pricing, and quality of water is immensely important. Upon entering a new stage of anthropocentric climate change, the relationship with water is changing rapidly. You might be aware that the United States is going through a water crisis. Local Paso Robles residents will be well aware of this crisis. Over the last few years, the groundwater levels in the area have lowered significantly. This poses a risk to the homes and businesses that use groundwater wells and could impact the economic health of the Paso Robles area. Almost every issue surrounding water and the environment is intrinsically connected. Here is a roundup of two of the most important stories about water in the USA.

Speculation And An Open Market

As water becomes an ever more precious resource, its value as a tradable commodity has increased. This has led to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, enabling traders to bet on ‘water futures’. The buying and selling of futures based on speculations surrounding water prices is rightfully seen as being a little bit tasteless. In theory, the system could help businesses and farmers in the long run. A clever farmer could foresee a drought and purchase water at a low price – selling it high to supplement lost income during the drought itself when prices skyrocket. Speculation and risk-taking, however, often leads to mass crashes or hyperinflation.

The alternative option

Businesses should, therefore, simply take advantage of the open water market by using sites like Utility Bidder to compare prices offered by providers. This system has been proven to work in countries like the United Kingdom – where the market has been deregulated since 2017.

Quality Control

A recent study conducted by the Guardian and the Consumer Reports group found that water quality varied hugely across the United States. More than 35 percent of the samples collected in the course of the report contained dangerous PFA chemicals. This is in part to do with the highly unregulated water system in the USA. Although federal quality control levels are enforced in theory, the government struggles to maintain control over the huge network of private water-providing companies. Part of the problem might also lie in social inequality. Poorer people (disproportionately from marginalized groups) are more likely to have outdated or contaminated piping in their homes due to the financial cost of installing new equipment. Local governments in poorer areas are typically under less pressure to sort out water issues due to more grievous problems in their areas of responsibility.

Is there hope?

There is some hope for communities left without clean drinking water. Funding is slowly being released for the provision of new pipes to replace lead lines. Lead is a severe contaminant. Legislation is also being drafted with the aim of reducing the amount of PFA chemicals used in manufacturing. PFA chemicals are found in clothing and kitchenware. They make up the nonstick coating on modern pans – which often washes away into the water supply.

 

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