21 January 2010

Water cops waste $75,000 each

I've ridiculed the "water cops" idea (see this, this and this) for a long time.
  1. They are a fascist mechanism -- telling you want to do, when and where.
  2. They are a visible form of "education" more than an effective way of increasing water conservation.
  3. They divert resources from more pressing matters. (Even though I bet they are considered "green collar jobs").
And now we get the cost of cops in San Diego [p 497 of this pdf]: $752,370 for 10 FTE positions.* (I doubt that includes their transport costs, since they probably drive fleet cars.)

Note the revenue associated with these cops: $0.

Now, I know that cops are supposed to be valuable because they promote water conservation, by their very existence and/or the threat of a fine, but I'd prefer a more-direct mechanism: Raising the price of water.

Higher water prices:
  1. Don't tell you what to do; you choose when and where to use water, and pay accordingly.
  2. Are something we've learned how to respond to LONG ago -- by using less.
  3. Cost nothing. In fact, they generate revenue.
So why does the City of San Diego (and others) have water cops?
  • They prefer to make noise and then impose rationing when it doesn't work.
  • They don't really want to sell less water (because revenue falls).
  • They are bureaucrats who prefer to tell people what to do.
I'd like to hear a better reason. Anyone? Buehler?

Bottom Line: Fire these cops and rehire them to read meters that are billing water at higher prices. They will actually be useful.

* Bureaucrats are amazing: "Adjustment reflects the addition of 10.00 FTE positions and associated non-personnel expenditures to support and implement the Drought Response Level 2 mandatory water use restriction."

7 comments:

  1. Why are cities so resistant to a real water market? In response, I would like some detailed case studies in which extended action was taken to change the situation.

    Given the case studies, how might a functioning water market be established for at least one place in California?

    ReplyDelete
  2. WaterSourceWaterBank21 January, 2010 06:53

    Few people understand that taking water when it is not yours, when you have not paid for it and when it is not allowed are all CRIMES ... it is called THEFT !

    Civilized people don't STEAL and justify THEFT from the supermarket because they need to feed their family. STEALING water from their neighbors or the providers is no different than stopping along the road to STEAL fruits & veggies grown by the farmer because there was/is no COP around at the moment !

    It is also a CRIME for the entity with the exclusive right to provide water to not pursue every means economically possible to assure adequate SUPPLY under worst case scenarios. NEGLIGENCE of DUTY is also a CRIME. The recent Court Cases involving Katrina verify this legal concept.

    If the THEIVES risked a CRIMINAL RECORD, maybe the STEALING would become minimal ...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Eric,

    Since you asked:

    "A Market" means you have something to sell that you have the right to sell.

    "Sell" means you can transfer the rights associated with care, custody and control.

    The rights mean the authority to use in certain specific ways.

    The authority means from those authorized by law to administer the rights acquired from the market.

    For the protection of the buyer, all of this must be guaranteed by the Law and upheld by CA Courts.

    Almost all of California can have a functioning water market ...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Almost all of California can have a functioning water market ...

    OK, how, specifically?
    What steps will actually work?

    ReplyDelete
  5. WaterSourceWaterBank21 January, 2010 09:58

    Eric,

    First of all ... Let's face it, CA is broke.

    So, what needs to be done must be absolutely in the black & economically feasible from the very start.

    The Environment must be fully protected and truely enhanced. Such a market will need to utilize existing storage and existing conveyance structures on a space available basis especially at those times when exchanges are possible & needed in order to "spread the wealth". Cooperation will be required. Damage to vested rights will not be allowed.

    Everything must be legal under existing law. No one has time for another decade long spitting match.

    So tell me, what entity in CA needs any water and is willing to specify amounts, timing, location, use and (heaven forbid) a price they are willing to pay so that a market plan can be designed ?

    ReplyDelete
  6. So, what needs to be done must be absolutely in the black & economically feasible from the very start.

    (In the black month to month immediately or in the black net over five years?
    CA being broke, while interesting and constraining, does not fix the water problem or make more water. )

    The Environment must be fully protected and truely enhanced.

    (What does this mean? Some claim that the environment is only 'protected' if we get rid of all the pesky humans.)

    Such a market will need to utilize existing storage and existing conveyance structures on a space available basis

    (how badly does 'space available basis' limit a viable solution?)

    especially at those times when exchanges are possible & needed in order to "spread the wealth".

    (What do you do with people who think that exchanges are not 'needed' and who do not want to spread their hard earned 'wealth'? Remember that almost all 'soak the rich' schemes do not generate enough money to work.)

    Cooperation will be required.


    (How do you get the requisite people to cooperate?)

    Damage to vested rights will not be allowed.

    (What if there is currently more vesting than there are rights?)

    Everything must be legal under existing law. No one has time for another decade long spitting match.

    (Of course they have time. That is what they do.)

    So tell me, what entity in CA needs any water and is willing to specify amounts, timing, location, use and (heaven forbid) a price they are willing to pay so that a market plan can be designed ?

    ( Entity needing it - cities, bottled water companies, manufacturers, farmers.
    Entity selling it -- ?
    Negotiated price -- ?
    Underlying law -- ?
    Enforcement of underlying law -- ???
    Market driven motivation for seller - ???
    Market driver to change the status quo - ????????????????)

    ReplyDelete
  7. If you raise the fees, someone will immediately accuse you of increasing taxes. And then the pitchfork-and-torches people will be out crying bloody murder about how they are taxed enough!!

    THAT'S why water prices can't be increased - no politician is brave enough.

    ReplyDelete

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