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February 23, 2009

Water Stimulus

With all the talk of stimulus packages and government funding of infrastructure projects lately, I got to thinking: what kind of impact will all of this new money have on our water systems?

Countries all over the world are firing up their printing presses and planning huge injections of cash to fund public works projects as a means of creating jobs and stimulating the economy. Much of that money has been earmarked for badly needed public infrastructure, including roads, public transportation systems, airports, and yes, even pipes, pumps and reservoirs.

That’s all good news for those of us who know how badly the world needs better water infrastructure. But there is even better news. A recent study by the Alliance for Water Efficiency estimates that for every million dollars spent on water efficiency in the United States, we can not only save as much as 10 trillion gallons of water, but also create about 220,000 jobs and increase economic output by as much as $2.8 million.

That makes investing in water efficiency its own fiscal stimulus plan. What kind of investments are we talking about? Some of the ideas are simple, water-saving devices: high-efficiency toilets, clothes washers, dishwashers and faucet aerators. Others are more involved, like smart irrigation, real-time efficiency monitoring, cooling tower retrofits, leak detection and energy efficiency audits.

The benefits to industry are widespread. From agriculture to manufacturing, even financial services. That’s why the authors of the report refer to water investment as “no regret” investments.

The study is specific to the United States, but the same scenario is playing out across the world. Thirsty nations cannot grow, and neither can thirsty businesses. So even the most libertarian among us can get behind this kind of investment.

February 23, 2009 in Water and the Oceans | Permalink

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Comments

Many people talk about change and just do that, Talk… The water party is over we are in trouble. Everyone needs to cut back and put these politics to work for real. We need to have a 3rd party monitor the cities and the water waste. They tell us we need to save water yet we pump millions of gallons out to sea everyday. I have made it a passion of mine to find ways to conserve. I have even invented a Dual Flush Conversion Kit for standard toilets to allow people to save water without a major money outlay. A average family can save a swimming pool of water each year…now that is green or in this case BLUE. If anyone would like to convert there toilet just go to http://www.dualflushkit.com Water is the next oil, do we want to import that to or design our cities and homes better? The SelectAFlush blog also contains some great ways to save water. http://www.dualflushkit.com/blog I feel the plan should include dual flush conversion kits as they save a major amount of water but do not impact our dump with old toilets.

Posted by: SelectAFlush | Mar 1, 2009 12:38:19 PM

The need for more data seems to be an underlying theme in the Deep Dives, and associated discussions to date. Without comprehensive data it is difficult to generate effective planning - Without this planning, it becomes difficult to initiate any major new projects. This raises some concerns about the effectiveness of rapidly thought-out infrastructure development, motivated by sudden stimulus funding.

We know a great deal about the successes of Roosevelt's "New Deal", like the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). Do we know anything about the failures? There must have been a number of ill-fated projects we don't hear about very often. It might be a good idea to investigate them before anyone gets enthusiastic about pouring concrete.

The difficulty, of course, it could be difficult to generate interest in funding data analysts, planners, and design engineers with stimulus capital. Hopefully there will be infrastructure designs on file that have been well reviewed in advance. This is nothing like a sure thing, and the possibility that there is going to be a great deal of wasted cement is a real one.

Ideally, there will be strong motivation to pursue efficiency projects of the kind you have described, which which to have strong financial returns, and focus -only- on those major projects that really have been well thought out!



Posted by: Tim Raisbeck | Mar 1, 2009 3:26:13 PM

To Summarize,

Is there any way to take the theme of this post, that energy efficiency and related projects are not only very green, but financially attractive, and translate them in to viable near-term efforts that are consistent with the intention of stimulating the economy, producing employment, and generating financial activity as a short term priority.

Another question worth considering is, what happens when a large industrial plant is shut down due to economic inactivity? Instead of just padlocking the doors, is there any way to bring workers back to pursue stimulus related efficiency projects that will improve both environmental impact and operating costs, in preparation for a revitalized financial picture?

Posted by: Tim Raisbeck | Mar 8, 2009 6:15:32 AM

Correction per the AWE website, the AWE study claims 15 to 22 jobs created per million dollars invested, and up to 220,000 jobs created and 10 trillion gallons saved by investing $10B.

Posted by: Tom Scanlan | Mar 19, 2009 8:14:54 AM

Yes it's true, water is very important nowadays, everyone needs to cut back and put these politics to work for real!

Posted by: Steam Shower | Oct 14, 2009 1:12:46 AM

The difficulty, of course, it could be difficult to generate interest in funding data analysts, planners, and design engineers with stimulus capital. Hopefully there will be infrastructure designs on file that have been well reviewed in advance. This is nothing like a sure thing, and the possibility that there is going to be a great deal of wasted cement is a real one.

Posted by: wench costume | Apr 9, 2010 1:29:16 AM

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