As arid San Diego stares down the possibility that 2009 will bring the first water rationing in nearly two decades, Sanders has frequently emphasized the need for residents to conserve water. The mayor is in the midst of holding water forums across the city. But they've been sparsely attended. Monday night's audience was the largest; others have attracted crowds as small as 10 people, highlighting the difficulties of conveying the serious nature of San Diego's water supply crunch to a populace that does not appear to be listening.What's likely to happen when rationing (SD's preferred coping mechanism) is instituted? Some agencies will raise prices to penalty levels (good, if late), but others put on the jackboots:
Mark Rogers... said his agency's board will consider a proposal in December to cap the amount of water it delivers to customers based on their historic consumption levels...Instead of fining violators, flow restrictors on water pipes would halt deliveries to scofflaws.Do you hear that? The sound of power-freaks cracking their knuckles, anxious to enforce their will? Yuck.
Rogers calls it "the adult approach." He said the agency fears financial penalties won't dissuade some homeowners from keeping green lawns if they can simply pay nominal fines to continue excessive use.
"We don't want people to be able to pay their way out," he said. "I'm not going to tell you how to use your water. I am going to tell you how much you can use."
Bottom Line: Raise prices and let people decide how (or if) to save water. Since aggregate demand is all that matters, it makes no sense to chase and prosecute the "immoral" people who refuse to conserve water!
hattip to DW