25 March 2006

Water Issues

FSU Editorial: "Agua Caliente" by Richard Karn 03/24/2006: "Many industrialized countries’ infrastructure appears to be living on borrowed time. The majority of infrastructure problems revolve around neglected or decaying systems unable to cope with increasing wastage, which in turn is being exacerbated by increasing demand. Many European cities lose as much as 30% of the water in their antiquated systems to leakage. In the US, which has the fastest growing population of any industrialized country, infrastructure is simply not keeping pace with growth. There are more than 700,000 miles of water pipes nationwide, and water mains break roughly 237,000 times each year.[7] A surprising amount of that pipe is more than one hundred years old, and some systems are amalgamations of various pipes of various ages from various systems cobbled together ‘to make do’ years ago. Exurban sprawl is over-taxing once rural systems not designed to handle the increased demands and loads. Terrified to even mention raising taxes to pay for the needed repairs and upgrades, which the American Water Works Association (AWWA) in 2002 estimated to be as high as $6900 per household in some rural areas,[8] weak-willed politicians with a long term planning horizon that extends only as far as the next election have been deferring the issue to their successors now for decades.
This political climate reflects the slow motion collapse of water infrastructure itself. Just as in the case of petroleum and energy consumption, Americans are the most profligate in the world in terms of water usage. Politicians of all stripes avoid this issue like the plague because Jimmy Carter demonstrated that advocating conservation and responsible lifestyle changes is the second fastest way out of office. These same politicians who have refused to address the probl"

No comments: