26 April 2009

Weekend Discussion: Social Water

NOTE: This post will stay here until Sunday night. Posts for Saturday and Sunday morning go below this post.

Dear Aguanauts,

Discussion posts allow you to discuss your beliefs on a topic -- to share your understanding, experience and opinions -- without worrying about what's right or what others think. (Check out last week's discussion on real fur.) Most important, the discussion allows us to learn from each other. So...

Both agricultural and environmental groups claim that their need for water is justified by the social value that results from their using it. Compare, contrast and discuss.

4 comments:

  1. Great topic.

    Both groups claim values for water that are over and above a simple economic analysis. Enviros would claim that environmental water should largely not even be factored into any scheme to use markets to allocate water resources; it has a "natural" or "public trust" or "non-market" value. Certain farmers would say that agricultural water doesn't need to compete head-to-head with other types of water in a market situation, either, because there are a variety of values beyond just the market worth of ag water: open space, locally-grown food, food security, etcetera.

    The case for total exemption from market principles is probably stronger for enviro water, since the environment is mostly not something that can be protected as a matter of markets. Agriculture probably has to compete for water with dollars to a certain extent, since it is a revenue-producing activity, but it does have additional non-market values that probably justify some sort of price break.

    One thing is for sure: neither can compete against urban water when it comes to the market. Query, does urban water have any non-market valuation that ought to be factored into this discussion? Is there any public trust value in urban water?

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  2. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227052.200-bangladesh-in-search-of-fresh-water.html

    The result in Bangladesh.

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  3. Environmentalists, like everyone else, want someone else's water for nothing !

    They simply won't pay for it.

    Time and again, they have been contacted and assured that areas like the Colorado River Delta ( valued at $2.4B/year by Az University researchers) can be restored without damage to other environmentally sensitive areas or anyone else's water rights for that matter.

    The environmental community is not able to come up with such a solution and when others do and request a few crumbs from the table, they, like everyone else, scoff at such a possibility, but would love to have the solution, if only they could have it given to them for NOTHING !

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  4. Dear Water Source: What a great point. The urban and ag interests have certainly paid for the dams, water diversions, and government subsidies right out of their own pockets.

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