28 Sep 2009

18 Months of Aguanomics

Time flies when you're having fun...

...and so do the words. After about 18 months (six month update; one year update), Aguanomics has:
  • About 2,000 posts: 35 by guests; 16 by Damian and about 1,950 by me.
  • Attracted about 900 subscribers (most on RSS; about 140 on email)
  • About 250-300 unique visitors/day; they spend about 1:40 to look at about 1.6 pages/visit.
  • About 31,000 unique visitors making about 52,000 visits in the past six months; both numbers are up over seventy percent from the same period one year ago. That's interesting because it seems that there are a few dedicated readers (revisiting the site often) and many casual readers. Hopefully, the "casuals" are learning something!
  • Nearly made me into a touch typist. :)
As you can tell from the photo above, I have a big mouth, and I've enjoyed opening it and sending "aguanomic" ideas out to you folks. What have "we" accomplished?
  • In concrete terms (actual implementation of all-in-auctions or real conservation pricing), not very much, but there does seem to be an improvement in the scope and depth of the discussions on water policy in the news and legislatures. I'm happy to take some credit, as one of many advocating more economics in the "new reality" of scarce water.
  • A refinement of ideas and dialogue. Thanks to emails, conversations and comments with you, I have refined simple ideas into robust ideas ("some for free, pay for more," business metering, all-in-auctions, using insurance to measure monopolistic efficiency, etc.)
  • A growing community of people who know what they are talking about. I have learned from "water chats" with many people involved in the water business; I have given many talks to diverse audiences, spreading ideas that are simple, effective -- and usually unknown.
...and here are a few hints on what lies ahead:
  • I will finish teaching Environmental Economics and Policy 100 at UC Berkeley by December. Here's a page with audio (mp3) and video (youtube) links to my first 7-8 lectures. My students will also be contributing about 80-90 guest posts -- starting on October 2 -- to this blog. It will be interesting to get some new perspectives!
  • I will write the first draft of my book (The End of Abundance: A Primer on Water Economics) and get your comments and critiques.
  • I will be visiting Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand for about three months (Dec 20 to end-March) to learn more about their water situation. (If you want to meet me, schedule a talk, introduce me to someone, etc., then email me.)
  • I am planning to come back to Berkeley to finish out my postdoc, but I am not sure what I will do after that. Perhaps I will continue to travel and learn more about/work on water problems throughout the world; perhaps I will get a job that allows me to continue blogging; perhaps I will work as a consultant, implementing these ideas. Probably a combination of all three.
  • I am "taking some time off" from an academic career, mostly because the entire "publish or perish" regime is so discouraging. Why should our best minds spend so much time arguing with each other on issues that rarely apply to reality, in journals that so few read, over a period of time that's glacial? Although I love to teach, it seems I will have to teach outside of academia.
Bottom Line: I've enjoyed blogging, and I hope that you have enjoyed this blog. I look forward to our future adventures!


  1. Congratulations David on an interesting and entertaining blog. Your topic might be water, but many of your ideas are useful in the gray area between public and private goods.

  2. I have no idea how much time I spend on it, or how many times I've clicked (other than trying to vote twice on liking the duck video) but this blog is now part of my morning ritual. Thank you for doing it. I am never bored by it.

  3. David – As I’ve said to you more than once privately, I’m convinced that a more sensible water policy in California will not happen until more thoughtful people (including the mass media) grasp some of the fundamentals of what it looks like now – including your favorite subject of pricing. Until real people begin to weigh in, our water policy will continue to be dominated by special interests and their lobbyists. Blogs such as yours, Peter Gleicks, Emily Greens, etc. are a good beginning to that essential education process. Keep it up and thanks.

  4. keep your readers apprised of the status of your book - I know I will want to order it when it is published.

  5. David,
    thanks for your blog. I've learned a lot from reading it and it has been directly valuable in my work. Keep up the good work.

  6. Congratulations and Keep up the excellent work!

  7. Just want to add my thanks to you David. I'm one of those dreamers who wishes we could just forget the money and share nicely. You give me confidence in alternatives. I do know someone who might well want to meet you in NZ and will email.


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