- Higher priced water really would discourage waste and entice additional supplies such as desalinization. Price changes keeping demand and supply in balance are the essence of markets. California’s problem is one of government interference not inherent water shortages. State and local governments have prohibited markets from doing what they do well—allocating scarce goods.
- Charge all farmers, government agencies, and other water users the same price for water, no exceptions.
- The price of water should be raised such that the average price charged is initially set at five times the current average price.
- Grant all existing water users a credit on 70 percent of the amount of water they used last year. Above that point they would pay the new market price for all water in excess of 70 percent of last year’s usage. If usage were less than 70 percent of last year’s usage, then a credit would be given for their conservation at the new market price.
- Each year the credit will be reduced by 10 percentage points until it disappears in seven years.
- Government should under no circumstances deprive the natural environment of its water set-asides. Our forests, bays, rivers, and marshes already share the burden of drought with us and can ill-afford any additional deprivation by reducing water set-asides.
- Price retail water service so fixed revenues cover fixed costs (e.g., pipes and plants) and variable revenues cover variable costs (e.g., making desalinated water or pumping water). Add an additional surcharge when water is scarce (i.e., to reflect the of of using water now that you may want later). That surcharge can be rebated to customers (by meter, not according to use) if the utility has no deficits.
- Use markets to allocate irrigation water among farmers who cannot take more than sustainable volumes from surface or ground water
There are half a million acres of selenium-tainted salty land in the western San Joaquin Valley which require drainage in order to stay in production. Those lands have been without an economical, safe disposal method for vast volumes of drainage water for half a century. Some toxic drainage water, tainted with toxic levels of selenium, continues to be funneled untreated into the Lower San Joaquin River and the Bay/Delta estuary.Norcal Wants Its Water Back - Zeitland, Aguanomics (2008)
Those half million acres of alkali, saltly marginal farmlands use an average of 1.5 million acre-feet of water a year, which would meet the domestic needs of 15 million more Californians. Continued irrigation of those poisoned lands by massive amounts of water pumped from the Delta is also contributing to the ecological decline of the Delta. Until the drainage problem is resolved, or those poisoned lands taken out of production, the major problems of water in California will remain unresolved.
Self-Evident Water Truths - Rep. McClintock (2013)
Self-Evident Water Delusions - Zeitland, Aguanomics (2013)
Reforming Water Markets - Edwards & Hill, Cato (2012)
Aquanomics - Gardner & Simmons, Independent Institute (2012)
- establishing secure and transferable private water rights and extending these rights to uses that traditionally have not been allowed, including altering in-stream flows and ecosystem operations