Water supply dangers

Our increasing population and development with little regard for this limited, critical resource may soon become a serious problem.

  • Apr. 14, 2015 6:00 p.m.

Both Ross Peterson and Elaine Thompson have hit the nail on the head regarding our local water supply (letters to the editor The NEWS, March 31). Our increasing population and development with little regard for this limited, critical resource may soon become a serious problem.

It wasn’t that long ago when the local ecosystems treated our water — an ecosystem service — at no cost to the taxpayer. Now, we need a $37 million water treatment plant with the attendant increased taxes that will ensue. And what will we get for those increased taxes? More water from our taps? Better water from our taps? Hardly.

More people and more development — that’s what we’ll get. And that’s the last thing we need.

This isn’t about the often-used straw man argument of pulling up the drawbridge or preventing others from coming here. It’s about living within the limits of our local ecosystems and the maintenance of our quality of life.

The fact that we need a costly technological solution to a problem that nature handled for us at no cost is one indicator that our population has likely exceeded the local carrying capacity. It’s time we grew up and accepted the fact that we can’t have infinite growth on a planet with finite resources.

The infinite growth paradigm that we cling to is a cultural concept — a meme — that we pass from one generation to the next. But unlike the survival of our genes, which ultimately confer benefits to us, the survival of memes does not have that requirement. Memes can, and often do, diminish our well-being. But, because they are simply ideas, unlike our genes, they can be changed.

We are fixated on continuous growth at a global scale, which seems to blind us to the solution of living sustainably within our local carrying capacity.

This malignant meme must be changed and the best place to start is at the local level, where collaboration is more readily achieved. If we don’t change it, we will suffer the consequences. And, as Tofino and Summerland discovered, one of the consequences could be running out of water.

Neil DaweParksville