How Do You Value Water?

 In Blog, Uncategorized

This is part one of a two part series on water by Coach Benet Heames who is also the Managing Director of, which was created to raise awareness related to the drought.

How do you value water? 

Before you answer that, let’s have a better understanding of water and give this some context. 

Water is an exhaustible natural resource. That means that there is a finite amount of it on earth. Yes, the earth is covered in it, but only about 3% is consumable for personal or agricultural use. You can’t grow tomatoes with sea water, and yes, a lot of the produce in America comes from California. 

Water is not an abundant natural resource to Southern California. Los Angeles is located in a basin surrounded by three deserts and an ocean. Our natural water supply is limited to groundwater aquifers that are fed by precipitation from the local mountains. These aquifers can not be depleted because we then run into a problem called saltwater intrusion. If these run low, they HAVE to be replenished with water from other sources. 

Water travels a very long way to supply the demand. You will have to look into what the California State Water Project and Central Valley Project  did to understand how Los Angeles gets water. It is complicated, political, and the backdrop of the movie “Chinatown.” It is a brilliant and disturbing history, but we could not call LA home without the actions taken by William Mulholland in 1907. Ultimately, Los Angeles could not exist without water being brought in from the North.  Check out some information on William Mulholland, the actions taken to acquire water rights from the Owens Valley, and the failure of the St. Francis Dam that killed over 450 people. 

Let’s also discuss what value means, as it relates to water in the question above. 

We value water financially, but the cost of water ranges throughout the state. This also depends on use, water for farming can cost $50 per acre foot, but water for the Southern California Water District is nearly $298 per acre feet. One may think that agriculture should pay more in a drought, but that would only be passed on to consumers. Can your grocery bill (because you buy organic/fresh) be increased 5x because of the cost of water for agriculture? That’s a tough question. We currently do not have a price mechanism for use or waste. We all shoulder the cost burden with waste. Unfortunately, our actual delivery system (pipes under streets in LA) is in major need of repair. The cost of repairs is almost $4 BILLION. Our aging water delivery infrastructure is also a big financial problem that we will be exposed to in the coming years (regardless of drought) because of how much waste comes from pipes that break. 

Our price for water does not impact our behavior towards water. When gas was expensive, people changed their driving behaviors and bought efficient cars. You financially felt the difference between $5 and $3 per gallon. With water, you don’t know if you took a $5 shower, or a $1.00 shower. If we had a better water pricing mechanism, our behavior would change. 

So, back to my original question with some more context:

How do you value an exhaustible natural resource that is not found in our region, travels over 300 miles from the source to delivery, and is governed by complicated regulatory laws with pricing that is not transparent across the user base?

For part 1, please discuss with your family. We will build on the issues related to the drought in part 2, as well as offer solutions and what is trying to accomplish!

Look for Part 2 on this blog April 21.


Tuesday’s Workout

A) 1RM Back squat (20min)

B) 1RM Squat snatch (20min)
Compare to Jan 13

And Coming Wednesday

50cal Row
50 Burpees
50 Box jumps with step down (24/20)
50 Wallballs to 10’ (20/14)
50 Toes to bar
50 Wallballs
50 Box jumps
50 Burpees
50cal Row
**40min Cap**
**Inspired by CrossFit Games Regional 2014**
Compare to Jan 14




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