The Economic Perspective: “Water”

Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at water.  Mike, it’s an understatement to say water is essential to life.  Humans and animals need water more frequently than they need food.  Water is also necessary to grow and raise the food we eat.  And, of course, many of us love to use water for recreation.  But with our population continuing to grow, should we be worried about running out of water?


Mike:  Summary Answer

  • Several ways to make sure we never run out of water
  • One is to develop new sources of water, like reservoirs
  • Problem here – very expensive, and worry about environmental impacts
  • Another way is to use the water we have more efficiently
  • Big progress has been made here – water efficiency measured by average number of gallons used per person has dropped over last 40 year
  • A third way is to continue these efficiency gains – sensors to detect leaks, technology allowing us to re-use water, and pricing that motivates us to conserve water
  • Looks like water is one resource we can successfully manage
  • I’m MW


Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics