Water prices, was Re: Overpopulation

From: Chris Hibbert (chris@pancrit.org)
Date: Sun Feb 24 2002 - 16:16:12 MST

Spike wrote:
> >The problem is that we think of water as free. If fresh water
> >had a price tag associated with it, we might move to stop
> >the waste.

Chuck Kuecker responded:
> Obviously, you have never seen a Cary, Illinois water bill - or the
> associated late charge - or the restrictions on use if there's two weeks
> without rain in the summer...

That sounds like what we have in California, that Spike was referring to.
Prices low enough that people don't worry about water except during an
emergency. When supplies get tight, they don't raise prices, they pass short
term laws prohibiting you from washing your car, filling your pool, and in
extreme situations from watering your lawn. (for the record, we don't have a
pool, and we let the lawn die planning to cnovert to strawberries It's just
weeds now.) The social pressure gets pretty extreme, too, with everyone
watching what everyone else is doing.

If they'd just raise the prices, we'd use less when the use didn't make sense,
and people would find substitutes or alternative sources. If prices went high
as often as we have below-normal rainfall, someone might think it was
worthwhile piping grey water around (recycled, cleaned, not clean enough to be
potable) for people to use in toilets and watering. Instead we get
prohibition and reinforcement of the socialist way every few years.

Same as we did during the energy crisis, since it was illegal to raise power
prices for consumers. The social pressure and the race to "cooperate" during
the emergency was scary to behold.


C. J. Cherryh, "Invader", on why we visit very old buildings:
      "A sense of age, of profound truths.  Respect for something hands
      made, that's stood through storms and wars and time.  It 
      persuades us that things we do may last and matter."
Chris Hibbert

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