Buying Water -- Right Or Wrong?



This is a "what-if" scenario, which I would like someone to address.

Suppose I know someone who owns land on which there is an ample supply of water. Further, suppose that several miles away there is a town that is running short of water; and I own land in that town, but I cannot develop it unless I can find a source of water to meet the demands of the homes I want to build on it. Does this sound familiar?

Now, I arrange to buy water from this person (we'll call "H") who has ample water on his land several miles away. I will pipe the water to the town (we'll call "P"). Now, I am a reasonable man, so I will agree to provide the average water usage based on the number of people estimated to be housed in my development (let's say 100 gallons per day).

Well, "H" is very happy because he will now sell water for which he has no use; "P" is happy because this land will be developed, which will prolong the inevitable decline in construction due to a shortage of this natural resource, which is in limited supply; and I am very happy because I will make a profit on developing this land that is now in limbo due to insufficient water.

So, I put in a pipeline and start supplying water to "P." I develop my land and put my profits in the bank. Then something happens that I did not plan on. The land that is owned by "H" gets incorporated into a town (we'll call "S") and "S" imposes a special fee for shipping water out of the town limits. The fee is so high that I cannot afford to pay the price, so I stop paying for the water. Now, "H" isn't getting paid, so "H" shuts off the valve and "P" no longer gets this water.

This is the point at which I cannot seem to understand what will happen.

  • Will "P" take water from all of the other citizens to cover this shortage?
  • Will "P" simply pay whatever price "S" charges? This could lead to "S" owning "P."
  • Will the people who have moved into my development no longer be provided water? I don't think anyone would agree to this; at least not in "P's" own town.

Can someone provide an answer?

Richard A. Meyer Jr., Payson

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