Water Auctions: Would you rather eat or drive your car?

Water is one of the things that we humans seriously take for granted. Hop out of bed in the morning and hit the shower…and the toilet and the sink while you’re there. Thirsty? Turn on the tap and grab a glass of water. Our day to day lives revolve around the availability of water. A few years ago, Georgia was in one of the worst droughts this area has seen in history. They were measuring the water in Lake Lanier (our only drinking water source) in DAYS. I seriously considered filling up the tub in case the taps ran dry! I never stopped to think that the car I drive every day requires a huge amount of WATER in order to run. New drilling techniques that release stores of oil and gas from the ground use powerful streams of water, sand and chemicals to crack open the ground. And that water is in high demand from farmers who need it to grow their crops. Water auctions are a popular way to determine who gets the rights to available water in an area but unfortunately, farmers just don’t have the deep pockets that energy companies do. The result may just be devastating to our food supply!

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water auctions

Water Auctions:  Farmer’s at risk


According to this New York Times article, in average years, Colorado farmers and ranchers pay about $30 for an acre foot of water  (about 326,000 gallons) and up to $100 when water is scarce. Oil and gas companies in parts of Colorado are paying as much as $1,000 to $2,000 for an equal amount of treated water from city pipes. There is no way that farmers can match that price and if push comes to shove in the water actions, farmers will lose. A single well can require five million gallons of water to fracture the surface and allow extraction of the reserves from underground. Think about This:  How many acres of plants would that five million gallons irrigate?


I’m going to spend just a minute venting about this. Like I needed another reason to support alternative energy? Now, it may be a choice between gas guzzling cars or putting dinner on my family’s plate? I get so frustrated with people (AKA politicians) who refuse to support proposals to expand the research and development of alternative sources of energy. Fossil fuels are a dirty, limited, and apparently water hungry way to power our lives. Yet environmentalists are constantly struggling to get financial support to investigate cleaner, unlimited sources of energy. See that ball of heat and light right up there in the sky? That is a great source of power! All that algae in the ocean could be put to good use powering our cars. Check out the post I wrote last year titled You Want to do What with a Poopy Diaper? for other unique alternative energy ideas. I really don’t think having  water auctions is the solution to our problems.

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 A water auction alternative!


The problem with water auctions is that the much needed water goes to the highest bidder….hence the word AUCTION. But we should consider putting a value on what that water will be used for. Just because energy companies can fork over huge sums of money for the water they want, doesn’t necessarily mean they should get it. If it were a choice between driving my car or feeding my family, I would much rather feed my family. Maybe a portion of the proceeds of these water auctions should be funneled into alternative energy research! Then the energy companies wouldn’t need to buy so much water from already struggling farmers!

If you want to help support alternative energy research join the Petition for Clean Energy group on Facebook and sign the petition on Change.org


 What do you think of the concept of water auctions?



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