What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: What should the price of water be?

Jeffrey Fulgham: You know, the price, that’s a real, that’s a hot topic. Where we stand with the price of water is it needs to be priced relative to the value received from that water. 

Often where water is underpriced or not priced for value, there’s no real incentive to reduce consumption or change behaviors. And so the most important thing, I think, relative to price, is that it has to be priced according to the investments made to get that water to you. You know, people say, water is a human right, and I completely agree. What is not necessarily a human right, or free, is that treatment and transport of the water to get it conveniently to us. So, I think the most important thing is that people realize the value of that water. You know, today our water bill in most parts of the world is much less than our cable bill, much less than our monthly cell phone bill, and yet you could certainly live without those long before you could live without water. So we are encouraging the world to look more wisely at water pricing, and one of the challenges regarding price for it, is agriculture. 70% of the world’s water supply goes to our agriculture markets for irrigation.

So if you think about it today, if we subsidize the price of water for irrigation, and there’s no real desire on a, you know, on a farmer’s part to spend a lot of money for low-flow irrigation or smarter irrigation technologies, because it really is a cost to them. Instead, if we would think of those subsidies for low-flow irrigation, for smart technologies, you know, net/net, the farmer doesn’t pay any more, but we, as a society, have much more water available then for our own consumption.

More from the Big Idea for Wednesday, February 02 2011

 

The Problem With Pricing Water

Newsletter: Share: