Water usage and urban growth
Monday, September 26, 2005
It’s hard to make it through a week without complaining about something related to the University of Arizona. Today’s low-hanging stupid-fruit is plucked from an editorial by Scott Patterson in the Daily Wildcat. In the editorial, he informs us that we live in a desert, and because so many people are moving here, we’re going to run out of water and be forced to drink our own urine. Of course, he admonishes that we have only our own urban growth to blame.
Fortunately, he’s wrong. Unfortunately, this appears indicative of the quality of critical thinking (and the quality of brain washing) the UA is instilling in its graduating seniors.
My letter to the editor of the Wildcat follows.
Scott Patterson’s “Swimming in the desert,” is dangerously miss-informed. To advance his anti-growth agenda, he predicts future water shortages in Arizona due to urban population growth. Urban growth is not to blame.
Nearly 70% of Arizona’s water is used for agricultural purposes. What’s more, the cost of water for agricultural use is significantly lower than for industrial or household use. The problem is not that people live in this desert, it’s that people inefficiently grow crops in this desert, and the inefficiency is encouraged by price controls on water. If water costs for agriculture were not subsidized, then market pricing would ensure a plentiful supply of water for generations to come.
The statistics I cite are from a January 3, 2005, Arizona Repugnant article.