California and Taiwan, two places that are close to my heart, are both suffering severe drought this year. Governor Jerry Brown is imposing mandatory water reduction. Taiwan is rotating water supply: two out of seven days will have no running water. Nobody is enjoying this.
Both California and Taiwan are adjacent to vast amount of water. Taiwan is also in a subtropical region that rainfall is several times the amount of water needed for the island. What they do not have is fresh and clean water that is also free and convenient. Simply put, they lack the will to solve the water problem.
So, politicians do what they are good at: blame mother nature and let people suffer. The people, on the other hand, insist on this commodity to be nearly free. Strangely, for something so precious to life, we refuse to pay for it.
A couple of years ago, I read the book The Big Thirst. What I remembered is two ironies: the unwillingness for politicians to fund water projects and the reluctance of people to use recycled water. They are ironies since politicians routinely fund projects that are far less impactful to people’s lives. Also, human beings, and all lives on earth, have been drinking recycled water since the beginning.
I knew more people, or companies, putting up solar panels on their roofs than collecting rain water coming down from the gutters. I know of no one who tried to reclaim the “grey water” that was used in shower and washing, but not toilets. I know of no desalination projects, or any new ones to store and transport water from far away. Jerry Brown and Taiwan government have but one plan: pray that more water will come from the sky.
And Californians and Taiwan citizens seem to believe that’s a fine plan.