Since water is one of the vital ingredients for life on Earth, scientists want to know how it got here. One theory is that the water in our solar system was created in the chemical afterbirth of the Sun. If that were the case, it would suggest that water might only be common around certain stars that form in certain ways. But a new study, published today in Science, suggests that at least some of Earth’s water actually existed before the Sun was born -- and that it came from interstellar space.
That’s certainly something to ponder the next time you drink a glass of water. But the discovery is also cool because it means water -- and maybe life -- may be ubiquitous throughout the galaxy.
Read more at the source.
As for us earthlings, the inestimable Coyote has a lot to complain about the way in which we deal with the precious resource.
Virtually every product and service we purchase has its supply and demand match by prices. Higher prices tell buyers they should conserve, and tell suppliers to expend extra effort finding more.
Except for water.
Every water shortage you ever read about is the result of refusing to let prices float to dynamically match supply and demand. And more specifically, are the result of a populist political desire to keep water prices below what would be a market clearing price (or perhaps more accurately, a price that maintains reservoir levels both above and below ground at target levels). [...]
Commenting on a 100,000 prize to help solve the water shortage in Arizona, the Coyte notes:
I will say that it is nice to see supply side solutions suggested rather than the usual demand side command and control and guilt-tripping. But how can we possibly evaluate new water supply solutions like desalinization if we don't know the real price of water? Accurate prices are critical for evaluating large investments.
If I find the time, I am going to tilt at a windmill here and submit an entry. They want graphics of your communications and advertising materials -- I'll just show a copy of a water bill with a higher price on it. It costs zero (since bills are already going out) and unlike advertising, it reaches everyone and has direct impact on behavior. If you want to steal my idea and submit, you are welcome to because 1. The more the merrier and 2. Intelligent market-based solutions are never ever going to win because the judges are the people who benefit from the current authoritarian system.
PS- the site has lots of useful data for those of you who want to play authoritarian planner -- let some users have all the water they want, while deciding that other uses are frivolous! Much better you decide than let users decide for themselves using accurate prices.
Writes another observer:
We actually have no shortage of water in Arizona. Rather, we have too much government. The web of subsidies and regulations of water use creates a false shortage.