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.