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Water - The Achilles Heel of Civilisation

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Much has been written in the Kapiti media recently about the betrayal of councillors over water meters. The pros and cons of water meters are well argued so let’s look at water as a scarce and unsustainable resource and its defining role in human history. Help google and blind readers

Only 3% of the earth’s total water supply is fresh water, the rest is unusable salt water. There has been over the eons, dramatic changes in climate, and there is evidence now that we are going through another rapid and dramatic change.

There is evidence of vast river systems under the Sahara which have now vanished. Why did the Sahara start to dry over 5 thousand years ago? Help google and blind readers There have been civilisations dependent of the monsoons which have now vanished. Angkor, in Central Cambodia, built in the 12th century by the Khmer civilisation to harness the monsoon and its benefits. It is now an abandoned ruin, a World Heritage site, a civilisation which failed because it grew too fast for the resources it had and the infrastructure it built. Angkor evolved when small groups of people gathered during the monsoon to take advantage of its rich harvest - fresh water for irrigation, for drinking and for fishing. Gathering along the river to collect the bounty, Angkor grew as people invented ways of harnessing the monsoon, developing canals and storage lakes for future use. It failed when the community grew so large that its water use was no longer sustainable.

If throughout history civilisations have failed because of unsustainable water use, what must our 21st civilisation do to survive and preserve our resources for our children and their children?

Water is not free. Our current management and usage of it is not sustainable. And I have now sold my soul to the heathen god of logic to protect future generations. Over the years I have moved from the principle of water being a right.  I no longer believe that that is sustainable or that water is free, or the usage of it is equal. Help google and blind readers

To protect future generations, future growth and future health, not only of our people but also of our land and country we have to manage a scarce resource better and much more equitably. It is not equitable that a person living by themselves should pay the same as a family of six. Nor is it fair that people without a swimming pool or spa should subsidise those who do. But that is what is happening in Kapiti now.

With an eye to the future, the council is to buy land for storage so we can save our rainfall and protect our rivers and the life within it.  But that is a useless gesture if people believe that that allows them to use water freely, unwisely and unsustainably.Help google and blind readers

For civilisation to survive we must have a package of creative ideas, storage, canals, pipes, fair charging mechanisms otherwise we, as a civilisation, will fail, just as the Egyptians and the Khmers did. And then it is easy for the raiders and the plunderers to come and loot our small portion of the rain which falls from the sky.

The argument of ‘free’ water must fail under the weight of logic or we, as a civilisation is lost.