You might know that Australia has recently been through a horrific drought during which water restrictions that were imposed for a lengthy period and other demand management activities were undertaken. I'm wondering how water demand is likely to recover following the drought.I replied with:
Will people 'bounce back' to normal demand levels.
Is there any experience from the US that might be relevant?
Are you aware of any papers that have looked at post drought consumption?
So the relevant question is the mix of "demand destruction" vs. its temporary suppression (demand curve shifting in vs sliding up in econ jargon).RT replied:
This post describes an excellent study where demand dropped to 50% of pre-drought and then bounced back to 60% of pre-drought, once the "crisis" was over.*
So, demand should bounce back, but not by 100% of the drop...
Love to hear any numbers on change in demand. I think that Brisbane got down to 140lcd, but I reckon that's back up again, hmmm?
If you know where I'd get information on the current levels of consumption per household in Santa Barbara please let me know.I replied with:
In Aus - the bounceback in demand hasn't happened quite how people would expect. Queensland dams have been overflowing but people aren't using much water.
A few reasons I think:
- Need for water is less when it rains.**
- Strangely, policy is such that the usage price is now higher than ever
- Govt has invested so much in convincing people water is precious and should be conserved, and
- There are some permanent measures that have been undertaken - people have installed rainwater tanks etc
All of those reasons make sense. Demand destruction is meant to be permanent.Bottom Line: Demand can go down in a drought, and then it can go back up in shortage. The trick, then, is to send signals of scarcity to make that happen -- and prevent shortages.
According to this [pdf], SB dropped from 165gcd to 90gcd and now they are @ 120gallons/cap/day. So that's 630lcd (!) down 45% and then up 33% (down 28% permanently).
Yes, you may piss your pants @ these numbers, but SB is a VERY rich city in a state where "normal" residential use is 400lcd+
* The title of this post unintentionally sounded like Bill O'Reilley's claim that tides prove God's existence (watch on the Colbert Report). Changes in demand
** This exchange took place before the current floods in QLD.