Jan Shaw Wolff
"I would offer the hydrological cycle. I think we take that for granted, because there's a fixed amount of water that's cycling through the planet through our system, and we use it in various forms, for example dilution: what would it cost us if we needed to dilute many of the materials that we now use rivers and streams and other water bodies for? Or desalinization-how expensive is that to try to convert salt water to freshwater? So many of these things that nature does for us essentially for free we don't really give much thought to, but they are life-sustaining services. So the hydrologic cycle at a very basic level is one that I think we take for granted."
"Continuing along that same line, the basic recharge of the aquifers, and the change that's occurred in perhaps the farming systems that are more quickly flushing the water from the landscape in healthier systems where they are allowed to infiltrate and you have more cleansing of the water before it reaches the aquifers. In comparison to those systems that are largely tiled and so forth where the water is quickly drained and doesn't have the opportunity to perform all those functions that it did in the past."
"We've been discussing the value of rivers, but as Beth pointed out groundwater and surface water are really a single resource, and we have to look at them as a whole. It's all part of the hydrologic cycle that Jan mentioned. Whatever we do on one end can cost in another part of the cycle. So there's no free lunch really."