Readers may recall that I blasted the paper as unrealistic in its treatment of farmer choices and market realities. In the comments to this follow-up post, Gleick and I debate the merits of the report. I post a give and take between Gleick and farm interests here.
Anyway, the commentary seems to support my contention, i.e., that the proposed "savings" do not give sufficient weight to economics, i.e.,
The PacInst Paper defines four major water conservation strategies, implying the availability of major water savings, while downplaying or ignoring the Paper authors’ own cautions such as “We note that a more detailed economic assessment is needed to capture the social, economic, and environmental benefits and costs of these improvements” (page 25). Without such an assessment, conclusions drawn by the authors of the Paper are difficult to support.Bottom Line: There's no free lunch. If you want farmers to conserve water, raise prices. The best way to raise prices is by letting farmers sell their water. Those who can make more by selling will use less.