12 May 2015

A thought on pricing water for evaporation

JD emails:
As I was contemplating data in a water conservation plan, it dawned on me that it should be possible to charge more for water used for irrigating landscape. As since it is actually lost to the atmosphere, consumptively used (in large part), and therefore not (locally) recyclable like most indoor water use is, it does pose a higher cost on the local water supply. Higher costs could also be attributed to salinization, since consumptive water drives that problem.

Accounting for outdoor use could happen with separate landscape meters, or wet weather billings ["winter use"] to establish the indoor baseline above which use is considered irrigation. In fact, separate metering may not even be needed, as remote sensing can measure consumptive use down to the square meter (with drone technology these days).

So, given that the base water rates must remain non-tiered (i.e., constitutional), this surcharge would apply to all in theory, but practically only on large consumptive users.

Of course the drone replacement cost (as people shoot them down) will need to be figured J
I agree with JD's ideas: California ALL utilities can apply a scarcity surcharge based on outdoor water use (use above baseline set in winter) to reflect the "cost" of water lost to evaporation that cannot be collected and recycled.