Does water conservation make sense where you live?

Insert Toronto here for exactly how I felt ten years ago in grad school at a water conference where the assumption is the government is not doing enough to incentivize water conservation.

<sarcasm> Because it always makes sense to spend more on water conservation, recycling, and banning plastics.. and you’re not a good person if you want to make economic choices to prioritize environmental spending that doesn’t fall in line. </sarcasm>

Water Conservation for Michigan – Why?

I suppose I should go along with this: I consider myself a conservationist, and I’m running for Oakland County water resources director. I should go along with the Association for Planning, both from a desire for a good environment, and a desire for their support. The problem is, for most residents here and in neighboring Macomb and Wayne County the water can not run out because it is all recycled.

The map below shows the clean water system for south-east Michigan. The high-population areas of Oakland County and surrounding counties (the ones that are colored in the map) get their water from the Detroit River or slightly upstream in Lake Huron. It’s cleaned, pumped, disinfected and carried to your home along the main pipes shown, and after you use the water, it travels back along another set of pipes to the water treatment plant and back into the Detroit River. All the water you use is recycled.

Map of the main drinking-water pipes serving south-east Michigan

Map of the main drinking-water pipes serving south-east Michigan

When the system is working well, the water we dump back into the Detroit River is cleaner than the water we took in. So why legislate agains too much personal usage? So long as a customer is willing to pay for the going rate for pumping, cleaning and delivery, 1.5¢ per gallon, who cares if that customer wastes the water? Feel free to flush twice, or use a high-volume shower head like in this Seinfeld episode. Enjoy it; we can not run out. The more you use, the less everyone pays per gallon.

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