Monday, June 15, 2015

Water Entitlement

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One of the  themes that is emerging in our modern culture is the issue of middle class and wealthy entitlement. By entitlement, I mean that there are many who feel like societal rules, both written and unwritten, do not pertain to them.

You've all seen entitlement in action in small ways.

The entitled set are those who skip lines and demand attention in stores. They are the ones who are texting while driving 45 miles an hour in the fast lane. You can see them in restaurants talking loudly on their phones while everyone else is trying to have a conversation. They only see their needs and wants regardless of the needs and wants of others around them.

This article from the Washington Post by Rob Kuznia brings forth another example of entitlement--water entitlement. It highlights a wealthy community in drought-stricken California where severe water restrictions are in place. The amount of hubris exemplified in this article is quite stunning and an example of a major divide that is emerging in our country that many have been writing about for the last few years. Some individuals highlighted in the article believe that they have a right to more water than other Californians so they can take care of their high-end suburban estates.  

There is no doubt that water needs of larger estates are greater than those of smaller property owners. But the lack of a sense of responsibility or concern for the greater good displayed by many points to the water entitlement issue. It was stated clearly in the article that many believe that if one has money to pay for water, one should be able to have as much as one wants. Of course, using basic economics, this will drive up the cost for water under a time of scarcity--which makes it harder for poorer communities to provide a steady supply of water in a time of drought.

As income divides continue to pierce the fabric of American society, water entitlement is just one symptom of a greater problem. There are many many who have been left behind in the last few decades as a small number of people have taken larger slices of the American pie.  We are not at a point where citizens with pitchforks and watering cans are invading gated communities. But the hubris of the entitled sets the stage for greater societal troubles in the future on shared resources.

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