In the 21st century and worldwide, water has become a scarce entity as nations become plagued with drought and insufficient water resources such as a full dam or desalination plant. This results in both cities and farmers clashing with one another for water rights and sufficient water to feed their respective families and requirements overall. For example, the drought in California, USA is threatening both of these respective communities on an individual basis. Each side has their own respective arguments and the purpose of this paper is to determine which side should receive the most rights in this water debate. It will analyze in detail tow major issues concerning the scarcity of water including the following: 1) The proposal of raising the price of water while providing low rates for minimal use to help poorer families and individuals, and, 2) Providing government subsidies to encourage farmers, households, and businesses to increase their water use efficiency. In analyzing these issues, it will further be determined whether the water issue can be rectified amongst these two parties.
In regards to the first issue raising the price of water, it would benefit both cities and farmers as it would allow water resources to be preserved for both areas and force both respective areas to reconsider this debate and realize that the current water crisis affects both parties. Raising the price of water will firstly force people into becoming more weary about their water usage and how they manage their monthly water allowance. This includes such activities as watering gardens in more efficient manner, avoiding washing cars and also being weary of water usage in homes (Sentlinger, 2016). In some ways, this can be extended to farmers who are also required to carry out these activities on a daily basis. The positive aspect of this issue is that it does not discriminate between these two parties and rather generalizes that the issue affects all populations regardless of their location, needs and requirements. By secondly providing lower rates for minimal use to help poorer families, there are no advantages of this as poorer families are likely to use as much water as normal households. It is agreed that these poorer families may be less financially strong and may not be able to avoid using water however these proposals can not discriminate between different classes. If the poor are given affordable rates then they will continue to use just as much water as before and will not be forced into limiting their overall water usage. It must be considered that poorer families are not as educated as middle class and upper class families in water usage and how to preserve water. It would not be surprising if many of these families are unaware that there is a water shortage and farmers require water just as much as large cities and irrespective of social classes (Pimental, 2004). There are also instances where middle and upper class families are more water efficient then poorer families as a result of greater capabilities and opportunities that are afforded to them in general.
There are some negative aspects related to raising the price of water for both cities and farmers. It must be considered that farmers use extensively more water to irrigate and maintain their land then communities in large cities and these increasing water rates will significantly affect them on a financial basis. Farmers provide significant produce and resources for a large economy and by limiting their reach and potential through increasing water rates, they may not be able to continue providing these essential requirements to overall society (Pimental, 2004). An alternative proposal would be to provide farmers with incentives to reduce their water intake such as particular programs or equipment that make their farms more energy and water efficient.
The second large point of providing government subsidies to allow for farmers and businesses to reduce their water usage is the best way of achieving an equilibrium between the water usage and requirements of both farmers and cities in large nations. Farmers do require more water as previously stipulated to maintain their land and livestock and their contributions are significant to the economies of numerous nations. With government assistance on a financial basis, farmers may be more compelled to react positively and reduce their water usage as a result. Subsidies could also be issued to families and businesses and in particular, people who are poor and would not be able to afford higher water rates (FAO, 2016). Government subsidies could also be used to fund certain programs that teach and subsequently educate local communities about the requirement for lower and more efficient water usage.
When comparing both of these points, it is transparent that water rates do need to increase to compel people to be more efficient irrespective of their own requirements. The use of government subsidies can definitely be used to assist those who may not be able to afford higher water rates and are in situations where they need to use just as much water to fund their businesses and livestock, which may be crucial to the economy of the particular nation. In also analyzing these two points, discrimination is unnecessary and water rates need to be increased for all individuals without any differentiation (Sentlinger, 2016). The use of educational programs can also assist poorer families and farmers with making the transition from higher water usage to a greener and more efficient program.
- FAO. (2016). Water Resource Issues and Agriculture. Corporate Document Directory, Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/t0800e/t0800e0a.htm Accessed on 17th April, 2016.
- Pimental, D. (2004). Water Resources: Agricultural and Environmental Issues. BioScience, 54(10), Retrieved from http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/54/10/909.full Accessed on 17th April, 2016.
- Sentlinger, K. (2016). Water Scarcity and Agriculture. The Water Project, Retrieved from https://thewaterproject.org/water-scarcity-and-agriculture Accessed on 17th April, 2016.