13 Aug 2010

Drying out grandma? NOT

From a good story on lawns:
“If water gets more expensive, the demand for water will fall," says Mr. X. "In the case of landscaping, this is a very, very obvious point. A lot of people say we can’t charge a higher price for water, because Grandma will not have enough water to drink or I won’t be able to bathe my children.”

But with more than 50 percent of our water going to our lawns, argues Mr X, that’s hardly an emergency use of water. His idea is to charge customers a base amount for a reasonable amount of water, then jack up the water fees for people who want to use considerably more. People could keep their grass lawns if they wanted to, but they’d really have to pay for it.
Who's Mr X?

Me! :)


  1. It's interesting that the writer seems to indicate that ornamental horticulture is the largest water consuming crop in California. If that's correct, it is a heck of a point to make the next time some pencil-neck whines about the water used to grow his food. A related fact (and this I have on good authority) is that the majority of pesticide use in the state is not by farmers, but by home gardeners, exterminators, golf courses, and so forth. The commercial non-farm users are carefully regulated, but the home gardeners can do things that would send me (rightfully) to jail.

  2. I don't always say this, but amen, Mr. Kurtz!

    David, good job getting in the paper. However, one correction:

    Demand for water will not fall... ready?... the quantity demanded for water will fall!

  3. Good job spreading your message.

    This might be old and outdated, but I believe that alfalfa and landscaping each use about 12% of water consumed in California.

  4. @Kurta -- agreed/

    @Josh -- I said “If water gets more expensive, the demand for water will fall,” -- that's quantity demanded, but it's FALLING!

  5. David, a change in P doesn't change the D curve (in the short run), dude. It changes the Qd point.

    There is a difference between demand and quantity demanded.

  6. @Josh -- I just said that, twice. Please READ before you scold.

  7. David, I READ. You WROTE, "“If water gets more expensive, the demand for water will fall". If you cannot understand that this is inaccurate, I cannot help you. And yet, it remains inaccurate; calling that comment "quantity demanded" does not make it "quantity demanded". You wrote "demand for water will fall." That is not true.

    Demand is that range of possible quantities demanded at various prices, as illustrated by a demand curve. A particular price will set a particular Qd, and a change in price will change that Qd. And yet, the demand curve will stay the same (in the short run).

  8. @Josh -- yes, I understand the difference between Q_d and D. You keep berating me for not being pedantic in a newspaper article when MOST people do not care about that difference. Do you think that grandma cares about shift vs slide? No. She understands P up, Q down.

    (You'll be pleased to know that I spend 2 paras in my book explaining this difference, but it's not worthwhile in an article.)

    Now, can we move along?


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