An Expensive Proposition: The Rising Price of Water
Why is it that we walk into an airport, go to a water fountain and get free water?
Actually, water is not free. It costs money to purify it. Someone has to maintain the pipes and the appropriate flow of water. Maintenance teams are needed. Cleaning services must ensure the sanitation of the fountain.
I wouldn’t be surprised if soon in the future, you walk in the airport and the drinking fountains are coin-operated. “50 cents for a glass of water.” Why shouldn’t we pay for it?
The easy answer is that we should: In many emerging nations, children are starving, dying, due to lack of clean water. As a “developed” nation, it certainly doesn’t seem that advanced for us to be getting water for free, even if it appears there is plenty. Meanwhile, two million people in the developing world are dying every year because they can’t access clean water.
It’s not just emerging economies. Let’s look at the city of Shanghai, which is considered the “Paris of the East.” Residential water prices skyrocketed in this past month. The cost of water has now risen 25%. In business, it’s double that. Corporations in Beijing experienced a 50% increase in the cost of water. This is despite the country NOT facing droughts over the past few years.
Maybe we won’t have water fountains in the future. Maybe it just doesn’t make sense.
What would this look like? People might be forced to buy bottled water. They’d view it as it is – a cherished, expensive and rare commodity. Quite soon, and even by certain nations, water already is the new diamond.
Society is realizing that the most expensive, prized and honored possessions in our world are things that we actually cannot possess, the things which are not optional. Unlike diamonds, water can’t fit in our jewelry box. We don’t keep it in a safe and take it out to admire it. Its beauty rests in its active presence in our lives. Its beauty rests in the continuation of life.
The new luxuries are things that we must use to survive. They are becoming rare, but we must use them frequently, on a daily basis. Our new luxury is about survival.
Water is the New Diamond. Treat it preciously.