But recently a national mortgage underwriting team voiced concerns over a Texas property’s rainwater harvesting system, serving as the only source of water, potentially running out of water. When documentation was provided, i.e., potable water being trucked in from local municipality water sources to fill or top off the cistern (traditional ground water wells cannot be filled), much like a swimming pool, they inquired, “what happens if the municipality runs out of water and there are no water sources available to fill the cistern tank?” The answer, obviously not clear to some folks; if municipality water runs out, this means our aquifers are depleted and an entire region of people and all life will cease to exist as we know it.
It is important to understand just how fragile life is on planet Earth. We cease to exist when there is no H2O.
Approximately 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water. Oceans hold most, over 95 percent of Earth’s water, in the form of salt water. Less than 2.5 percent (or 100 miles) of the Earth’s surface consists of fresh water. This may explain why we need to be more conscious of this precious life-giving resource. Fresh water also exists in the air as water vapor, in icecaps and glaciers, in the ground as soil moisture, in plants and trees, our aquifers, and even in animals and humans. To first understand where water comes from, we can look to Nature’s great architectural engineering (chart below). It’s a perfect system. Earth holds and recycles water and moisture in many forms, i.e., rain, snow and ice (precipitation), and evaporation, transpiration in the air and plants.
Theories and scientific research suggest that the Earth was originally a molten surface of only land mass but icy comets and meteoroids, rich with water, collided and contributed to the oceans and water resources that allowed life to exist.
The times – they are changing. Water, has always been a requisite for civilization and modern technology. Many cities were birthed and populated due to the abundance of water in certain areas. Most of our fresh water resources come from Aquifers, water held in rocks deep below the Earth’s surface. There are approximately 16 main Aquifers in the United States. The largest is the Ogallala Aquifer, 450,000 square kilometers (174,000 square miles) encompassing eight states . According to leading scientific studies the Ogallala Aquifer could be depleted in over a few decades. Aquifer reservoir depletion is occurring due to increased municipality use, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_network) population growth, continuing agricultural use, faster than rains can replenish them. Over 1.7 billion people, worldwide rely on aquifers to sustain themselves.
When building or purchasing a home, careful consideration should be given to the water conditions, types of water sources, or at least applicable market-based technology solutions to mitigate risks associated with water availability. Drought conditions should be a major concern for many investors financing homes in America, but unfortunately it’s not been on the radar until recently. California and other regions experiencing severe water scarcity and drought conditions have created awareness.
Factoring risk assessments, such as drought and high-water consumption, has created another layer of complex analysis that many investors and secondary mortgage markets (i.e., Fannie, Freddie, FHA, HUD, VA) must consider in the 21st Century. This is yet another reason to build, retrofit and finance green real estate projects and to conserve as many of our precious resources as possible.
Texas Drought News
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