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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tragedy of the commons



Let's go to Wikipedia for the definitions of “Tragedy of the commons.” In short, it's the problem of individuals using up common resources. Okay, that's probably too short. Read the Wiki.

On a macro scale we think of people using up all the world's resources. What we don't think of so much is how that affects us on a more humble scale. Recently a friend of mine who lives in southern Maine discovered his well went dry. Actually, it was his wife who made the discovery -while in the middle of taking a shower.

It was a fairly dry summer in their part of Maine so the water table was probably a bit down. However, they use very little water on a day to day basis. Their next door neighbor, on the other hand, runs a septic service company that uses an awful lot of water. No doubt that's why my friend's well goes dry now and then.

The only protection would be own and manage all the land about the aquifer. Nice if you can afford it, but not too practical for most of us. I had a chance to make a few quick bucks by selling the lots across the street from my place. The money would have been nice, but it would probably cost me more in the long run. My house water supply comes from shallow well that's fed by underground springs that cross my land across the street.

The guy who wanted my land has a history of bulldozing everything flat. I suspect the shallow springs would be destroyed and my well would go dry.

Water is one common resource that's become a lot less common. It's one thing when individuals use the resource for basic needs. It's another thing entirely when water is used on an industrial scale. Businesses love to profit from a common resource. It's how profits are made. If downsides can be completely shifted to other people, all the better.

Multiply the problem by thousands of times and then you have California -a land where family wells go dry and deep industrial wells are tapped to sell bottled water.

-Sixbears

13 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Indeed it is. Thanks for dropping in Gorges.

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  2. saw an indian lady, maybe on charlie rose, years ago speaking about how coca cola set up a bottling plant in india, drained the water tables dry, farmers' plow oxen died of thirst and starvation and there were no crops raised because of no water.
    then the coke company sold the water in bottles. destroyed the area which had been self sufficient for many generations.
    i now you are not a believer s.b., but i am and i am stunned to even try to imagine the vastnesses of hell.
    how many greedy are packed in there like sardines.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Capitalism at its best.

      I am a believer, but I pretty much keep my beliefs to myself. They are not quite standard. I certainly do believe there is a price for failing to be a decent human being.

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  3. Neighbors across the road have to share a well.Thank God, we have our own nice, deep, clean well. We don't waste any water, either. Grey water is used for the garden and washing off the tractor. We also have two big rain barrels.
    People that live in town have "city water" and pay an arm and a leg for it and the sewers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharing works fine -until there is a shortage.

      I can't believe how much people in town pay for water. I could buy a new well pump every 3 months for less money.

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  4. As I write, I am on hold from our local water services company. I believe I wrote some weeks ago that there was a leak on the meter side, gone unnoticed because it just went underground. My normally very affordable water bill more than doubled that month, August. Upon finding the leak, the repairman wrote up notes and let the billing department know. Now, 3 phone calls and 2 bills later, I'm still waiting. Not that much money, but still mine. Cobwebs for Halloween, anyone? They are growing on my phone receiver (remember what that is?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As they see it's not much of a problem so they are in no hurry to fix it. I wonder how many people just give up and pay the bill? Enough to make delay profitable, I'd wager.

      Good luck getting that taken care of.

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  5. The land is setting in parts of the state here in Kalifornia at an alarming rate. And yes there are towns that are close to running bone dry. Yet the big companies keep pumping water up from the aquifers with reckless abandon. The frackers keep on sucking up untold millions of gallons. Guess one day we will just have to drink their chemicals.

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    Replies
    1. It's bad out in Cali. I worry about my daughter who moved out there.

      Companies and money trump people.

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  6. wm mac
    we in youngstown have just been told that we have been drinking fracking chemicals for at least a year.
    looking for a filter that can rid the water of benzene and its kin.
    cancer will begin to rise.

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    Replies
    1. My father-in-law was a chemist and got benzene poisoning. Almost destroyed his liver. Do not mess around with those chemicals. Do what you have to do to stay safe.

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  7. Check out what the CEO of Nestle is helping his company do. Much of the drought in the world is caused by them. They go buy all the water rights in an area, drain the aquifers, then bottle and sell the water. The CEO can be found stating water isn't a human right.

    ReplyDelete