Sunday, June 1, 2008


I've long been against water conservation. Largely I just enjoy saying 'it falls from the sky', but also water is one of the cheapest things you can buy (it's less than a penny a gallon I addressed this more in the heating water thing above). If there is a need to conserve it the price should go up, and that should cause natural conservation. Anyway I've read before about how the midwest water table is being used faster than it's being replenished by rain. I decided to look into how much water we get from rain, and how much we use. I couldn't find a nation wide average, but I looked at a few averages for cities in this area and 40 inches a year seems fair. NJ has 1134 people per sq mile, or 3,540,114 sq inches per person. Each of those gets about 40 inches of rain per year, meaning each person gets about 141,604,571 cu inches or 613,007 gallons a year. I found a site that claims per capita water usage including industry is 5000 liters a day, that works out to 482,114 gallons a year. I'm still thinking about how the fact that the same water is evaporating and falling over and over through out the year effects this. At first I assumed that it'd be better to use a shorter time scale, but the numbers still scale down to the same thing. I don't think it matter that it's the same water, if you think about it as a single drop that we just use over and over, you can only use it once for every time it falls from the sky, and each time it does it's counted as rain. Then there is the problem I just thought of while typing that last sentence which is we treat and reuse water without having it go through the natural water cycle. Although certainly some of the water we treat then goes through the water cycle, so you can't just add the amount of water we treat. Whatever, my original idea still holds, which is if we are running out of something the price will rise and usage will lower.

That brings me to the real reason for this email. NJ is thinking about a new water tax to go towards parks and stuff. Now I don't understand what the bill would really do, (what the hell are open space purchases) and more taxes and more government owned land is very anti libertarian. However, I'm really only libertarian at the federal level, states can do whatever the hell they want, and as I live in NJ I suppose this is where my personal wants should matter. Plus the government already provides water, so I don't see any problem in them taxing it. So unlike most political things I discuss I don't feel this is the absolute only right way things should be done, but rather what I'd like to see, and if the majority of people agree it should be done.

I support this because it's so cheap ($0.40 per 1,000 gallons, 100 gallons/day is a high estimate for personal usage, that works out to $15 a year), and it promotes parks (Friday I drove up to and hiked in a park and noticed a green acre sign, which is the program this will apparently help). I do have some devil's advocate cons too though. First it mentions farms and I'm against helping farmers in anyway ever (I just hate them so). Next is the fact that taxes that go to one thing mean the government doesn't have to spend normal tax on that thing, and thus have more money for other crap (in other words this new tax by proxy will go towards random crap). Also there seems to be a lot of hate towards something called the highlands projects, which has something to do with this, but as I can only assume that has to do with north jersey I support anything that they don't like on principle alone.

At the end of the day I'm pretty indifferent to this, I'd have to do more research before I really supported it, and it's not like I'm voting on anything anytime soon anyway. What I really want to mention is how crazy the comments are. Out of 19 comments all of them are strongly negative. One compares NJ to Rome (and while I must admit PA does resist our rule much as Britain did Rome's, it's still probably a bit of a stretch), although the same guy starts talking about the white house and Iraq so I'll assume he's one of the many that like to lump all forms of government, from school board to Galactic Emperor Palpatine into one monolithic entity known as 'the government'. Most bitch about how they can't afford it (less than $20 a year on average). <- 2nd result, I've finally made it

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