16 Oct 2014

The risks of cheap water

About a dozen people have sent me this NYT article, and I agree with its point: water for urban and agricultural use is too cheap, which is why demand is outpacing supply.

I sent one correction to the journalist in response to this statement:
"Rates have little relation to water's replacement cost. In Fresno, which gets less than 11 inches of rain a year, a family of four using 400 gallons a day faces a monthly water bill of $28.26. In Boston, where rainfall exceeds 40 inches, the same family would pay $77.73."

Your example misses the fact that prices are set to recover system costs and they usually exclude the value/replacement cost of water. That's why Boston's is expensive: their system is complex, etc.
For solutions to the problem of cheap water, I recommend my cheap free book, which explains how to fairly and efficiently price water in cities as well as balance between environmental and irrigation uses of bulk water.


  1. True, that is why I pay USD 10/m^3 of water; because I am not using much.

  2. Boston's resident population of nearly 590,000 almost doubles each day by commuting workers and students, shoppers, tourists, conventioneers, hospital patients and visitors.


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