Water Economics Blog

Books like Blue Covenant by Maude Barlow have transformed the thinking world’s Tap Water - by malla_mi under a Creative Commons licenseunderstanding of water. With an unprecedented interest in water and its availability, blogs like Aguanomics – the economics of water,  provide readers a look at water and economics, and how the two are inseparable.

David Zetland, the author, is also a visiting fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. He wrte at Forbes.com….

The Water Shortage Myth – Forbes.com

We can solve America’s water "shortage" in the same way that we would solve a shortage in any market. Increase prices until the quantity demanded falls to equal supply. This pricing system would ensure that everyone gets a basic allocation of cheap water while forcing guzzlers to pay a high price.
Want to use more water? Pay for it

There are not too many good blogs dedicated to water, David’s is one that hasn’t been around for long, but cover’s the topics with an expert’s eye.

Aguanomics: Minimum Water

Bottom Line: The full expression of economic and social development in urban areas can be achieved with as little as 135 lcd (or 36 gallons/capita/day) — far in excess of my suggested 75 gcd "lifeline" water supply (for residential use only). Since we use much more than that, there’s a good chance that urban conservation will not reduce our quality of life.

If you are interested in keeping up to date with the global water issue, check out David’s blog, Aguanomics.com

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Kelowna City the Sustainable

and a bonus story…

Kelowna, BC has just announced the formation of a couple of sustainability divisions, reshuffling to the corporate structure of the City…

The City needs to be better positioned to respond to the rising issues facing our community, both on the environment and social fronts," says City Manager Ron Mattiussi. "We also have an emphasis on community wellness and working closer with residents. I believe good cities are built on strong neighbourhoods."

City services will be delivered by three divisions: Community Sustainability, Citizen Services and Corporate Sustainability.

CivicInfo BC – News

I think we are going to see more of this as we move into an era where our consumption as cities is actually measured, not as an economic indicator, but as a threat to global sustainability.

Might Be Time to Put Away the Crystal Ball…

And in Spain developers are looking for someone to blame for climate change…

A group of real estate developers and property owners in La Manga del Mar Menor – a spit of sandy, low-lying coastal land and Murcia’s premier beach resort – are threatening to take Greenpeace to court over its graphic predictions of what global warming may do to the area, which they say have caused house prices to plummet.

Source: Estate owners sue Greenpeace for prediction – Expatica

I might have to keep my mouth shut! If I predict we are going to run out of Gas can car manufacturers sue me when no one buys their cars?

I know, kind of two stories in one, but they’re

short and sweet!

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Locally Safeway – Part 2

Last year I ran a post on the locally grown brochure that Safeway Canada had inserted into their weekly flyer right across the country. In their mind Local means Canadian, however, the reality is that food produced in Washington State is closer to us here in the Kootenays than food produced in Manitoba.

This week, I’ve asked a question of Safeway, to see what their delivery protocol is for food such as apples from Creston to the store in Castlegar.

Can you tell me what the process of delivery to a store in Castlegar is for say apples from Creston? Are the apples picked up at the farm by a truck and delivered straight to Castlegar, or does it get shipped to a warehouse first, say in Calgary or Vancouver?

The premise in my mind is that food labelling in store leads you to believe that it is from Creston (just 150km away), but the reality may be that it has travelled many thousand kilometres to get to the store where it is bought.


A couple of days later I received this answer…

To answer your question, goods are delivered to our warehouses in Calgary and Vancouver and then distributed to the individual stores. Please let me know if there is anything else that I can assist you with.

Although I’m disappointed, it’s about what I expected with a company of this size – the efficiencies of scale are greater than concerns for minimizing vehicle miles travelled. I don’t blame the drivers or the corporation, it’s not their fault we demand a large selection of perfect produce all year round. The cost benefit analysis has been done by their accountant, and maybe there’s a price of gas where the whole mode of delivery switches, but any solution to one problem throws up many more – so it’s likely that things won’t change in a hurry.

Simply put – the consumer lifestyle we currently enjoy is totally unsustainable when you consider how far away everyday products travel from for us to enjoy and discard the packaging in an instant. The challenge is in finding natural, local alternatives to the essentials we purchase, and weaning ourselves off the unsustainables we consume.

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Airline Cuts in the US

Last week I wrote an article about Castlegar Airport, Gas Prices and the Potential for Airline cuts. Here’s another article about the same problem that could be faced by many rural communities in BC, the last one was from ABC News America, this one’s from the New York Times…

Airlines’ Cuts Making Cities No-Fly Zones – New York Times

Financially strapped airlines are cutting service, and nearly 30 cities across the United States have seen their scheduled service disappear in the last year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Others include New Haven, Conn.; Wilmington, Del.; Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; and Boulder City, Nev.

Over the same period, more than 400 airports, in cities large and small, have seen flight cuts. Over all, the number of scheduled flights in the United States dropped 3 percent in May, or 22,900 fewer flights than in May 2007, according to the Official Airline Guide.

Is anyone keeping note of the problem here? If people can’t get here, they won’t be spending dollars here, and the tourism economy (along with other industries) will see a decline. The Kootenay region has always been relitively remote, could things become more remote once again?


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Greener Coffee

How do you feel about your morning java after reading this…

There are lots of problems with disposable cups. Up to 90 per cent of flavour comes from the aroma you inhale, so the non-recyclable styrene lids make your morning jolt about one-tenth as delicious.

Paper cups are all lined with plastic to prevent sogginess and, if you want to keep your reproductive organs functioning, plastic is seldom considered a good marriage with hot or acidic liquids.

The 50-Million-Tree Slurp :: Views :: thetyee.ca


Might be a good idea to ditch the disposable cups and bring along your own mug – or drink only at establishments like the Clean Bean Cafe in Nelson…

Deconstructing Dinner – Coffee, The Earth, and the Future of Civilization – 05/03/07

The Clean Bean Café exclusively sells Capulin Coffee. Located alongside the main highway running through the city, the coffee is sold out of the back of a trailer and is essentially a drive-thru coffee shop. But while Capulin Coffee presents a real opportunnity for social and environmental change, Benji Hansen is encouraging yet another level of change by NOT offering ANY take-out cups. Instead, Hansen maintains a ‘mug orphanage’ whereby customers are free to take their ceramic mug with them!

I love my morning coffee – that’s why I always carry my travel mug.

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Urban Farming in the News

A couple of generations ago, having Chickens was a key part of your family’s health and food security. However, in recent generations, many cities have enacted bylaws to prevent chickens or other farm animals from being raised in an Urban or Suburban area.

This article from today’s Toronto Star….

Toronto bylaws forbid keeping poultry, for health reasons. On the other hand, pigeons raised for sport are allowed, provided they rest, roost or perch only on their owner’s property.

Oddly, by raising a few chickens in the city, Alice is in step with a do-it-yourself food movement that is thriving in cities like New York, Portland, Chicago and Seattle. It’s legal to keep chickens in those cities and dozens more in the United States.

TheStar.com | GTA | Poultry in motion: Chickens adopting urban lifestyle

The gentrification that leads to banning farm animals is finally being reversed in many cities, we’re waiting for it to happen even in Rural Canadian Cities. For all the talk of a 100 mile diet, not much is being done to promote local food security from a provincial stand point, (see the BC meat regulations). At a local level – for those who want to try Urban Farming, if it’s not permitted by your City’s bylaws, try petitioning council to remove or amend the bylaw to allow chickens and miniature goats as a starting point.

Check out this video from the Wall Street Journal – there’s also an article to go with it here.


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Vancouver Urbanism

Vancouver is undergoing some serious growth, even after years of development with condos and sprawling suburbs. Having just visited, I was again reminded of the sorry state of the transportation infrastructure in this finest of Canadian Cities.


US Needs Vancouver as Model :: Views :: thetyee.ca

Yet there is even more to do in Metro Vancouver to provide a model for the future. While your metro area has many examples of great walkable urbanism, over 85 per cent of you still use the car for most of your travel needs around the region. That indicates a metro with an over-dependence on a single form of transportation and one land use option; the drivable suburban option.

There is a lot of good going on, but there is still a lot of improvement to be found. What do you love/hate about traveling around this city? Could America learn something from Vancouver?

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One Dollar Houses

Long ago I posted a story about the fifty dollar and up underground house. I never thought I’d be undercutting that. Looks like $1 is the benchmark again for foreclosures…

Race heats up for $1 homes | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press

The cities where the homes — mostly abandoned and in disrepair — are say the county is trying to poach what belongs to the cities. Many of the cities had applied or were planning to request the $1 homes when they learned Wayne County was doing the same thing. Many had plans to rehabilitate the homes, sell them to the public or employees or demolish those in the worst shape.

But it’s not just in the US that the effoects of the housing bubble are being felt, check out this story about the international effects…

U.S. housing collapse spreads overseas – International Herald Tribune

The collapse of the housing bubble in the United States is mutating into a global phenomenon, with real estate prices down from the Irish countryside and the Spanish coast to Baltic seaports and even in parts of India.
This synchronized global slowdown, which has become increasingly stark in recent months, is hobbling economic growth worldwide, affecting not just homes, but also jobs.
In Ireland, Spain, Britain and elsewhere, housing markets that soared over the past decade are falling back to earth. Experts predict that some countries, like Ireland, will face an even more wrenching adjustment than the United States, with the possibility that the downturn could turn into wholesale collapse.

Can things get worse on the housing front for the western nations?

I think so… I hope not.

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