We did move to Vancouver, find jobs, see old friends and make new friends, but we also decided that it's better to live in Amsterdam, so we're moving back in less than a month.
I didn't start Living with Water Scarcity until September and it's nearly done. Today is the first time I've posted the cover anywhere. The interior has more words and some great illustrations, so I hope you're looking forward to reading it. (It's really interesting to see how people buy, review and use books. I also like the design/publish/marketing process, as it lets me be creative about presenting ideas.)
This blog is where that book and The End of Abundance began. It's a place for me to write about water issues and for us to discuss them. Aguanomics has been -- and continues -- to be a place of ideas (and an occasional joke). Your participation is what makes those discussions interesting, and I plan to continue blogging into the future. (I have an idea for another blog; I'll reveal it -- if it still seems like a good idea -- later this year.)
World water year, every year
Every year, the media and various water-oriented organizations indulge in a one-day frenzy of awareness. It's ironic that all the work put into those results and reports is often wasted because authors are exhausted and readers cannot deal with the surge of information. (I delete all the press releases.) This blog covers water issues year 'round because (1) there's plenty of interesting stuff going on all the time and (2) it takes time to understand the links and forces that drive water policies, allocations, and results.
Yesterday, for example, I made one point several times: don't look at the net impacts (=benefits-costs) of a policy; look at the winners and losers if you want to know how it came into effect and will work. (I was talking about policies that allow oil/gas companies to pollute groundwater next to First Nations settlements in BC and Alberta.)
I've found that it's better to focus on the same, simple ideas until people get them. There are a lot of sophisticated models, analyses, data, etc. related to water, but most people lack the time to understand them and a reason to do so. They want to know a few simple things to do first, which makes sense to me.
Here are a few, in no particular order:
- If you want a particular environmental status, then make sure you leave adequate water to achieve it
- If water supplies are running low, raise the price of water to reduce quantity demanded. For retail water, this means raising the price of tap water. For bulk water (irrigation, industry), this means market pricing of available quantities
- Make sure that the people who benefit from infrastructure pay for it
- Businesses can pay the full cost of water because it's just another input. People can pay the full cost also -- except the very poorest people (<$2/day)
- Politics can make winners and losers, so avoid political solutions for private goods (most water)
- and so on...
|Me, up a Colombian tree|
FYI, I've tagged a number of posts "AG101" for aguanomics 101, i.e., posts that cover foundational or recurring themes. It's sometimes hard to know what to read when there are 4,800 posts!
As with last year, I see that overall traffic and new visitors fell in the past year vs. the year before [pdf]. The sad explanation is that people are not as interested in water issues or my blog. The happy explanation is that people came by, learned what they wanted to, and left. The sad explanation is more likely, but it's also hard to keep people's attention on water in the same way as you can keep their attention on a broader economics blog (e.g., Marginal Revolution). Or perhaps people have less time for everything, as they try to "do" twitter, reddit and other websites I haven't heard of. (Or perhaps, these statistics miss ±1,700 people reading the blog via RSS and other remote services.)
The blog's technorati rank was 3,135/105,767 in 2011 and it's 3,199/66,613 now (authority has fallen from 482 to 435). Fierce competition at the top has kept me in place at the same time as a bunch of blogs have shut down.
Spam provides a measure of (perverted) prestige. I get a few offers per week from people who want to write
Another fact of interest is the geographical change in aguanomics's audience, which has grown worldwide at the same time as it's fallen in the US [pdf]. That diversification is a useful sign.
I like blogging and will continue to do so as I return to Amsterdam and look into work as a consultant and perhaps a lecturer. I hope that you're enjoying the blog -- feel free to send suggestions, questions and gossip.