14 Jul 2008

Water Crisis

Sadly, the "world's experts" in water appear to understand the potential for a water crisis but not how to solve it:
Current estimates indicate that we will not have enough water to feed ourselves in 25 years time, by when the current food crisis may turn into a perpetual crisis. Just as in other areas of agricultural research and development, investment in the provision and better management of water resources has declined steadily since the green revolution. I and my water science colleagues are raising a warning flag that significant investment in both R&D and water infrastructure development are needed, if dire consequences are to be avoided.
Their solution (more spending,* à la Sachs) ignores the simpler solution: Assign property rights and allow markets to allocate water.

Bottom Line: The International Water Management Institute needs to hire some economists.**

* This site also asks for "several years and a great deal of investment" on condensation and desalination to "fix" water supply problems. Not bloody likely. They need to hire an economist too.

** I applied for a postdoc there, but I took the postion at UC Berkeley. Maybe I can work two three jobs? :)