On this page, you can view the draft document and leave comments (deadline June 5, 2009). NOTE that the email was NOT WORKING when I tried to submit my comments. (I sent them to email@example.com.)
I looked at Volume 1 (Strategic Plan) and Chapter 3 (Urban Water Use Efficiency) of Volume 2 (Resource Management Strategies) and was disappointed to find NO MENTION OF HIGHER PRICES. All I see is engineering buzzwords (study, estimate, calibrate, plan) -- not a sign of economics or social science anywhere!
For example, one section is entitled "Potential Costs of Urban Water Use Efficiency" -- as if higher efficiency is only going to COST money to utilities. What about raising prices and using "excess" revenue to pay for conservation? That method can be cost-neutral.
Overall, my impression is that this document represents status-quo, business-as-usual policies that will NOT end our water "shortages" and will continue to encourage the waste of or precious resource.
Here are the comments I submitted:
- Amend state law to require that ALL water rights (ground, surface, riparian, etc.) be adjudicated.
- Retire ALL water rights that have not been exercised for over 10 years.
- Direct DWR and SWRCB to formulate "plain vanilla" procedures to facilitate short term (<1 yr) water transfers within water basins and between basins.
- Require that water resellers raise rates if water consumption rises above long-term (50+ year reliability) average water supplies. Keep raising them until consumption is below sustainable yield.
- Require that ALL directors of a water district or agency resign if a shortage is declared and require a one-term cooling-off term before they can seek reelection.
- Allocate space on "oversubscribed" conveyance according to market mechanisms (i.e., auctions).
Bottom Line: Here's my Water Plan: Structure rates such that everyone gets a human right allocation of water, allow trading among those who have (ground/surface) water rights, and make sure that the price of water fluctuates with water scarcity. (For examples of where such a plan has worked in the past, observe the world economy -- when it is not distorted by political corruption.)