Here are the Friday Fab Five Links for the week of September 26, 2011.
1. Moving flood water to drought areas
Have you ever thought, “Why don’t we just build a pipeline to pump the excess water during flood events to areas experiencing drought?”. With the storms and floods happening in the east and the drought in the south, this is a good question to ask. People have been thinking about this question for awhile. This article discusses some of the crazy options that people have dreamt up. While it may be feasible engineering-wise, it is just too expensive due to the fact that water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. Since it is all about the economics, though, one day some of these ideas may become reality due to the rising cost of securing and providing water.
(Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)
2. Las Vegas allowing residents to switch back to grass
The Southern Nevada Water Authority has approved a measure to allow homeowners and businesses to convert desert landscaping back to turf if they reimburse the agency for rebates paid to incentivize the change to xeriscape landscaping. After years of drought in the West and adapting water use policies to promote water conservation, this decision is essentially destroying the message and will create an apathic attitude towards the need to conserve water. After the drought of 2008, the City of Austin officially set Stage One water restrictions as permanent year-round. This type of policy sends the right message about the importance of water conservation.
3. Galveston, Texas thinking about desalination
Since the passing of Texas Senate Bill 1 in 1997, cities have been required to create drought contingency plans. With the current drought in Texas, many cities are starting to search for alternative water sources as part of their drought contingency plans. This article is about Galveston, Texas as they start to search for alternative water supply options. Since Galveston is on the Texas coast, one option is desalination. The article goes through the economics of building a desalination plant and what that would do to the average homeowner’s water bill. Pretty costly at this moment!!
4. The reason for sustainability should be economics, not just being “green”
Is it time to rethink our approach to sustainability and start to focus on the economics rather than just doing good for the environment? This article urges the Rio+20 United Nations summit to “un-environmentalize” the world’s approach to sustainability so that it can reach out beyond the converted. I have always thought that more economic arguments should be used for pursuing sustainable goals. The problem has always been externalities which make unsustainable practices more economically feasible than sustainable practices since all “costs” are not being considered.
5. Using humor to get you to conserve water
The “Wasting Water Is Weird” campaign, from Shelton Group and the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program, uses “Rip the Drip”, a weird dude that you wouldn’t want to encounter in public, never mind in your bathroom or kitchen.
In three 30-second spots airing on TV and on a Youtube channel, “Rip” shows up just at the moment that someone is starting to unthinkingly waste water during an everyday activity. He then provides an “aha” moment by expounding on how much he loves these wasteful activities. Enjoy!