Attention Natalie Stoclet! Your use of water in the United States does not “affect the water crisis” in Cape Town, South Africa. The real reason that Cape Town has a “water crisis” is because it chose to reject Israel’s offer of help to build desalination plants.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

March 3, 2020

A writer named Natalie Stoclet recently wrote this article, which is called “I lived a week without using any water – and it showed me just how much we’re affecting the water crisis.”

Stoclet describes the “water crisis” with these words:

663 million people in the developing world don’t have immediate access to water, yet the average American household uses more than 300 gallons of water per day.

Stoclet then explains her attempt to address this problem:

There are many simple ways to conserve, from turning off the tap while brushing your teeth to taking shorter showers.

I went a week without water to try and see how much we really use and found the hardest part was the mental challenge.

That is not logical. The water that Stoclet avoided using during that week did not somehow get magically transported to the countries where those 663 million people live. Her week of conservation did absolutely nothing whatsoever to help any of those people.

Stoclet also wrote:

663 million people in the developing world don’t have immediate access to water. Millions of those may have to walk up to six hours to find it. This is a task often reserved for young children and this often means that they don’t even have time to pursue an education.

You think about cities like Cape Town, which just barely avoided the crisis of running out of water.

The reason that Cape Town has a shortage of water has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Stoclet’s use of water.

The real reason that Cape Town has a shortage of water is because it chose to reject Israel’s offer of help to build desalination plants.

Israel itself is a very densely populated country, in the desert, with perpetual drought.

If any country should have a shortage of water, it’s Israel.

But according to this article from haaretz.com, this is what desalination has done for Israel:

Over and Drought: Why the End of Israel’s Water Shortage Is a Secret

Remember all the years of being told to conserve ‘every drop?’ Well, times have changed: Today, Israel has so much affordable water, it can offer to export it. So why is this achievement being kept so secret?

There is now a surplus of water in Israel, thanks largely to the opening of several new desalination plants

Those desalination plants did not appear by magic. Instead, Israel chose to build them.

Cape Town, by comparison, chose to reject Israel’s offer of help to build desalination plants.

And Stoclet’s act of going a week without water will do absolutely nothing whatsoever to help the people of Cape Town.

According to the same article from haaretz.com, the cost of desalination in Israel is only 40 cents per cubic meter. That works out to less than 1/5 penny per gallon.

Stoclet wrote the following:

You think about cities like Cape Town, which just barely avoided the crisis of running out of water… Yet at the same time, the average American household uses more than 300 gallons of water per day.

Israel desalinizes that same amount of water – 300 gallons – for less than 60 cents.

And yet, Stoclet’s article has no mention whatsoever of desalination as a way to solve the “water crisis” that 663 million people are experiencing.

Instead, Stoclet mistakenly thinks that her own water consumption somehow “affects the water crisis.”

The 663 million people suffering from the “water crisis” don’t need Stoclet or anyone else to reduce their own use of water. Instead, what those 663 million people need is desalination.

Stoclet also wrote:

It has been made easy for us to treat water as a limitless resource

While it’s true that the earth has a finite amount of water, it’s also true that that water is infinitely recyclable. The water that we drink today is the same water that the dinosaurs drank 100 million years ago. And as long as we build enough enough desalination plants, and the people who use that water are willing to pay 1/5 penny for each and every gallon that they use, then we can indeed treat water as if it is a “limitless resource.”

Note from Daniel Alman: If you like this blog post that I wrote, you can buy my books from amazon, and/or donate to me via PayPal, using the links below:

amazon logo

March 3, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , . Economics, Environmentalism. Leave a comment.