The Preservation of Groundwater for Mankind
With the development of society in recent years, groundwater has become an essential resource that easily accessible in some developed countries specifically in the Central Valley of California. The relying on water resources of mankind makes groundwater a commons which means it is naturally and freely accessible. However, the particular ease of access to groundwater in some specific areas like agriculture and industry has led many people to take it for granted and use it wastefully. If the problem of excessive use of groundwater continues in combination with the prolonged drought caused by climate change, the groundwater will become less and less available for society. It also leads to the invading of salt water to a coastal aquifer, which makes fresh water disappear, and the sinking down of the land surface. In order to solve this problem efficiently, promote equity in using water, and sustain the water resource, the government must intervene and regulate the misuse of water. By offering the water conservation policy, setting limits on how much water could be used, and providing the nationwide educational programs, the government can adjust the excessive use of groundwater of the individuals as well as the society. The government’s intervention and regulation will improve people’s recognition about the limitation of the groundwater resource, formulate the behavior of using groundwater, and sustain the groundwater resource for future generations.
The Tragedy of the Commons by Garrett Hardin provides a useful perspective to describe the excessive extraction of groundwater problem in agriculture in California. According to the article, Hardin defines the commons as shared, limited resources that are freely accessible by everybody in society and can be depleted. He also describes the rational and self-interest behaviors of human by analyzing the process of weighing cost and benefit in making decisions. Hardin argues that the inevitable depletion of the commons is caused by those behaviors. Because of those rational and the self-interest behaviors, humanity is exploiting the commons without thinking about the consequences which could take decades or centuries for commons to completely recover. Also, he describes the conflict between the individual interest which is the benefit from exploiting the commons and the collective interests which is the preservation of the commons for the future generations. The conflict between those interests is leading to the tragedy of the commons in which humanity is not ready to sacrifice their own benefit in order to make the compromise to preserve the commons for future. By analyzing overpopulation problem, Hardin argues that the tragedy of the commons does not have a purely technical solution which is defined as those that require “a change only in the techniques of the natural sciences”. An approach to morality and eth...