Wow.  Two weeks ago I posted a short film I did with Patrick Benson on LA's tenuous relationship with water.  And as I often do weekly, I posted the link to most of the LinkedIn groups to which I belong.  From a bird's eye view, the results were interesting:  I think few actually watched the film, but I sure got a lot of comments based on my title, which was "Is water really the next oil?"

The discussions are still flying on LinkedIn.  Most were engaging, and I was so overwhelmed I wasn't able to reply to all of them.  Some were snarky, such as the suggestion that water issues will far outlive social media (which was used, of course, to post that response).  Perhaps one issue was that for Los Angeles resident to start a topic on water is like having a congressional staffer in Washington, DC dish out thoughts on partisanship.  Anyway, let me share some highlights with some topics discussed with my thoughts.

  • Desalinisation.  Many heated discussions started over this topic.  Some saw it as a panacea:  others saw it as expensive and destructive.  In an ideal world, I would see it if renewable energy technologies could fuel this energy-intensive technology.  I'm not a scientist, but using "X" amount of energy to create "Y" amount of potable water sounds like an ecological, and economic catastrophe, to me.
  • Conservation.  It's amazing how challenging economic times can bring back terms like "conservation" that seem dated, but it's true.  Californians are an easy target, but the fact is, we are leaders when it comes to energy and water conservation.  It seems odd to me that areas with the least amounts of water often have NO water metering!
  • Moving water from Canada using a pipeline.  I would posit that Canadians would give up poutine, hockey, and the Queen on their currency (not necessarily in that order) before they'd be willing to see this resource flow south of the border.  Perhaps the scenario of polar ice caps melting could make this the new gold.  This hypothetical may be fodder for a South Park movie sequel, with Obama and Harper caricatures jousting each other into war, and not over Terrance and Phillip.
  • Installing grey water or waste water treatment systems on residential properties.  One huge issue that irks me is using perfectly fine drinking water to irrigate our landscaping, or worse wash our car.  And most communities have restrictions banning the installation of such systems.  One word:  ridiculous.  That has got to change.
  • Stay tuned.  Many professionals who responded stated that they think the 21st century could be an ugly one, fueled by conflicts over water rights from Mexico to Pakistan.  We'll revisit this in the year 2110.
  • California's Central Valley.  The Economist had a recent article calling this reason the next Appalachia.  Since my roots are in the San Joaquin Valley, I really do hope not.  When I'm back, I'll have more to say about that.
what about melted snow from the Andes?
My previous posting did not have the movie file URL embedded in the email, so if you missed it, please take a look.  And please appreciate Patrick Benson's great work.  He is very talented and a great person to work with!

So how do we solve this problem?  I welcome your thoughts.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.