Water- our most pressing future issue
July 31 12:00 PM
AUTHOR: Robin Gunston
Since the Club of Rome's publishing of the "Limits to Growth" in 1970 and subsequent ratification of its key findings from international researchers in 2010, water has inexorably climbed up the pressing global issues ladder until the point where, as many futurists have previously forecast it is now a major issue here in New Zealand.
Water is more than just another resource like oil, wheat, or sugar- it is described rightly as the elixir of life! Thus politicians would be foolish to treat it in the same way as a tradeable commodity like any other their country may own.
The total amount of water in the world we inhabit is constant, and we do not as human beings have any finite control over whether it deigns to fall on our land or into our oceans, as those experiencing the effects of flooding on any day know full well.
All we are able to do is harness the quantity of water in a catchment area and water system, and allocate its use before it flows back into the seas or atmosphere!
Hasty decisions should not be made by any Government regarding water, as the flow on effects of such decisions are far too complex to imagine.
As a nation blessed with a current abundance of water, albeit often in the wrong place at the wrong time, we all need to reach an informed consensus on its use and realise that the policies we put in place are likely, as with oil, to have very long term and often unintended consequences.
At the very least a "purple" paper on water (green would be the wrong attribution here) is called for from the Land and Water Forum for all of us to consider and react to- that is true liberal democracy.