Five Simple Fixes for California drought won’t work

Perky suggestions to lessen the effect of the California drought by fixing leaks, using less, and recycling won’t work says water wonk David Zetland. A well-meaning report from NDRC / Pacific Institute highlights various ways water can be saved yet provides no incentive for doing so. And therein lies the problem. Their proposed  fixes are expensive and provide little benefit for the farmer, residential user, or business. The solution is to raise the price of water.

This typical, top-down list of to dos will accomplish nothing, as it requires (1) farmers to spend $100 to save $5 of water and/or (2) homeowners to spend hours on a leak that costs them $2.25 per year.

Drought reduces the supply of water. The obvious response is to reduce demand. The fastest way to reduce demand is to raise prices. Don’t tell them what to do. Tell them water is scarce and let them find ways of using less. They are more creative than people writing op/eds on websites.

The drought isn’t just affecting California. Arizona may be forced to cut back supplies within a few years to Tucson and Phoenix if the drought doesn’t end.

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