Worked some Yergin and Hartwick into a piece for this morning’s paper on the regulatory framework (or lack thereof) surrounding deep brackish groundwater in New Mexico:
Water is not oil, but there are similarities in the politics and policies that accompany our consumption of the two precious liquids. Using groundwater, which is almost never replaced by nature on time scales that are of any use to people, boils down to mining a resource that will never be replaced.
Brackish water is not like Spindletop oil. For one thing, the expense of cleaning it up for municipal use — in money, energy and waste disposal — is likely to slow its development, experts say.
But the lack of regulation creates a built-in incentive for a Spindletop-like rush to be first to drill.