“The demand we’re placing on the aquifer and the deep bedrock drilling, which is going on at an alarmingly fast pace, is really scary,” said Tricia Blattler, executive director of the Tulare County Farm Bureau. “Folks are really concerned we’re not going to be able find water in the groundwater system much longer. We are tapping it way too quickly.”
The Tragedy of the Commons results from competition combined with an open access resource. Because a groundwater aquifer typically spans across multiple landholdings and has multiple entry points (in most cases if your land is over an aquifer, you can drill into the aquifer and extract water), there is an incentive to extract water faster than your neighbor...especially during a drought. Because recharge rates can;t keep up with extraction rates, you end up with a literal race to the bottom.
The optimal solution?
The next best alternative?
The nextest bestest alternative?
The last alternative?
Mad Max (yes, I know that was about running out of oil, but you get the idea).