Down in Chile they are free market supporters, to such an extent that water rights are bought and sold like land or cattle. That has particularly acute effects in areas where there is little or no local rainfall. And local water supplies are dependent on good behavior by local mining operations.
Down in Florida regional agencies are in charge of the limited water supply for the Tampa Bay area. The drought there is well into its fourth year. And one major resevoir is now dry. The rainfall in parts of the Tampa region has been about 5% of normal for four years running. Tampa has a desalination plant that supplies ten percent of the metro's fresh water needs. It was built during the last serious drought. Perhaps more desalination coming? Perhaps tied to some renewable energy. I hear they get a little sunshine down in the...Sunshine State For now, Tampa will depend on pumping groundwater, a very gradually renewable resource even when it rains.
California's drought emergency is now being attacked by some as hyped up for political purposes. Maybe they could send a few boatloads of water around the Cape to Tampa?
A global water conference is set for Istanbul this week. Against a background of troubled water supplies in wide swaths of the world. And worries that global warming will only make it worse, and dryer.
97% of the world's water is salty. Most freshwater is locked up in glaciers or deep underground, leaving only a fraction available for human consumption or use. Should we soon expect water well digging to rival oil wells for revenue?
Rich, dry countries can afford desalination plants. Poorer nations cannot provide their own water supplies. Providing water to poorer nations will become ever more expensive in coming years. It's such problems that lead macro-biologists like Lovelock to descry population growth.
And agriculture accounts for well over half of the human water use. As global warming worsens, more agricultural areas are likely to require more irrigation, using huge quantities of both water and energy.
In short, there's huge need for brilliant green tech methods of water purification, desalination and recycling.