Sunday morning on ABC’s This Week California Governor Jerry Brown said that residents of his will be fined heavily for wasting water, including taking long showers. I wonder how he’ll go about monitoring the length of people’s showers.
Brown said, “This executive order is done under emergency power. It has the force of law. Very unusual. It’s requiring action and changes in behavior from the Oregon border all the way to the Mexican border. It affects lawns. It affects people’s — how long they stay in the shower. How businesses use water.”
Brown said to enforce his order, “Each water district that actually delivers waters — water to homes and businesses, they carry it out. We have a state water board that overseas the relationships with the districts. Hundreds of them. If they don’t comply, people can be fined $500 a day. Districts can go to court to get a cease and desist order. The enforcement mechanism is powerful. In a drought of this magnitude, you have to change that behavior and you have to change it substantially.”
The behavior that needs to change substantially is the behavior of California’s elected leaders.
What California needs is more water, not more government mandates. Water is a commodity just like any other, and its allocation should not be left to governments.
If it were bought and sold in an open market, there would be a strong incentive to move water to where demand is high and supply is low — such as California.
But as long as prices are kept artificially low by government dictums, that incentive doesn’t exist and potential providers never become actual providers.
If prices are allowed to rise, however, the profit motive will spur innovation — such as the unlikely prospect of squeezing water out of deserts to sell to consumers — and create competition in which rivals will fight to provide the best service at the lowest price.
When there is no true market for water, it falls under political control, which Terry Anderson and Peter Hill say in “Water Marketing — The Next Generation” precludes efficient pricing while at the same time creating political conflict and encouraging waste.
This is where we are now in California. (Read More)
Leftists like Brown would rather dictate who gets water and punish those who use more than he says they can use rather than let market forces take over.