Water crisis self-imposed

Who’s to blame and what’s to be done?

The Nevada Independent is clear that it’s government that’s to blame.

The problem is created by population growth, climate change, and water scarcity.

But the implications of these on the availability of water haven’t been addressed.  Water permits have allowed over-extraction (referencing Diamond Valley just outside of Eureka as an example); the price of water hasn’t encouraged water conservation (citing Utah with high per capita water consumption where the price of water is heavily subsidised); attempts to add supply have been hindered by red tape (referring to the recent rejection of a desalination plant in California).

The Nevada Independent seems to be suggesting that a “market” for water rights would be of benefit.  However, it’s hard to see how that would work with water.

The more common solution around the globe is regulation.  An independent body takes responsibility for assuring the long-term availability of water to support projected population levels given the prevailing climate and availability of water supply.  The regulator sets prices and targets for improvement.

A natural monopoly needs regulation more than it needs a market.