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Experts are beginning to discuss a “water market” in the United States that is likely needed in our current climate crisis.

The average family of four in the United States consumes 100 gallons of water per day and, in 2019, paid an average of $73 per month. However, residential water prices are mostly based on delivery costs, not the actual resource. This water usage also only accounts for a fraction of the actual water that the average American uses, as it doesn’t include the water usage for products and infrastructure that make our lives possible.

Source: TEDx Talks/Youtube

Depending on where they are located, many businesses that use water to make their products pay nearly nothing for it and may only pay for the right to use a water source, but not for the actual volume they are consuming. The average person in the United States consumes nearly 2,000 gallons of water every day when indirect water usage is taken into account.

The world is disrupting the water cycle through emissions, deforestation, and pollution which is making our freshwater increasingly scarce. However, many are warning that we need change and to enact a global water market. According to The Times, water experts argue that businesses or governments should trade credits for water use or pay a unified price for fresh water when they do things to affect the water supply. Many say that a system like this, similar to the way some regions trade credits for carbon dioxide emissions, would encourage businesses to reduce their water usage.

Source: Our Changing Climate/Youtube

An initiative for this water market is in early discussions, and the initiative aims to persuade policymakers and businesses to rethink how we manage water around the world. The Commission on the Economics of Water will introduce the recommendations at a U.N. summit on water in New York in March 2023.

Assigning a standard value to a cubic meter of freshwater could help us control the climate crisis and also save our most valuable resource. However, many fear that putting a price on the water for industries will cause those businesses to increase their prices and put a burden on the consumer. This would most likely affect food prices as the production takes nearly 70 percent of global freshwater usage. We need to keep thinking of smart ways to save our water and curb climate change!

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