$4 gasoline? The horror! Forget that Europe has been paying twice that and more per gallon forever. No, when US drivers feel pain at the pump, then everyone starts saying that the apocalypse has happened and the sky is falling. I think we can all see how, um, insular and self-centered such a worldview is.
But it’s not the high price of gasoline that worries me. I’m worried about water. A story in today’s paper is a sign of things to come. A local farm has run out of water. They’ve just planted around $80,000 to $100,000 in vegetables. Their two wells have run dry and they’ve been irrigating and washing the vegetables they sell at local farmers markets with treated creek water. Their kids take showers at the Y. They get water from their neighbors. Their well and other wells in the area have run dry because of competition from subdivisions and a county park.
In my day job as a business writer for Hoover’s, I blogged about water a few months ago. You can read it here. Now, as you can imagine, I am somewhat constrained in what I can write about in my work blog. I can’t always say what I want on a topic because our blogs have to be business-friendly. Sometimes I can get around it, but in case I come across as too pro-business “over there,” let me say this.
The latest schemes to buy and sell water, and the privatization of water utilities both in the US and in third-world countries, are appalling. Access to clean water is a fundamental human right. Water is not a commodity. We don’t need more ticky-tacky houses going up in subdivisions (and maybe, just maybe, the high price of gas will slow the development of exurbs). We need to protect our farms and our water.
I’d love to be able to call out for support for Tecolote Farm. You know, “farm in trouble! buy their vegetables!” But in this case, it’s out of supporters’ hands. Water policy has to be changed in order to make a difference, and Texas’ water laws are practically medieval.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the owners.
“We were told, ‘Most farmers rely on Jesus.’ When you grow row crops for your living, you can’t rely on Jesus all the time.”
Yeah, Jesus only walked on water, he didn’t sell it.