Figures on the scale of embedded water use bring home the true unsustainability of our lifestyles. Estimates of actual water consumption include 140 litres for each cup of coffee and 16000 litres for each kilo of beef.
"if someone who lives near the sea has a swimming pool, then they will have to pay more. It is only logical to tax more heavily those who can afford to have a swimming pool, when they could just as easily swim in the sea".
The implication is clear: an EU report on water policy due to be published at the end of this year will include proposals for graduated water taxes on top of expected higher regulatory and consumer charges.
So in the UK, consumers will not only have to shoulder price rises of up to 3% per annum between 2010 and 2015 but will also be subject to a tax on top depending upon the volume of water they consume.
Countries will be keen to avoid the social unrest which accompanied Bolivia’s “Water Wars”, where prices rose so fast that the poorest were simply priced out of the market.
However, not curbing our proliferate use of this indispensible ingredient of life could have far worse consequences, including agricultural and industrial collapse and armed conflict.
So, as petrol prices continue to bring home the message of environmental sustainability, are you prepared to pay more for your water? Should water be taxed, or is rationing a better answer?
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