22 May 2015

How much water do you use?

The March activity for the 2015 Water Smarts Calendar is to enter your water use and cost over at the California Water Atlas (description from last year), which is -- it seems -- off line.

Given that fail, all I can say here is that people sometimes have a problem understanding the relation between the price they pay per unit of water, the water they use and scarcity.

That's because water tariffs can be very complicated (a mix of fixed and variable charges that often take time to understand), because many uses (e.g., lawn watering) are "out of sight, out of mind", and because charges often reflect system costs -- not the cost of water, which is usually free to those with permits.

What I advocate is simple prices that reflect scarcity and cover costs. The only reasons I can see for NOT charging those prices are politicians' fear of raising costs (or making them clear) and an industry consensus to use old (or fashionable) methods that are too complex to understand.