Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More from KPBS on water

At the end of San Diego prepared for dry 2014, I noted how useful I thought the video embedded in the entry would be for my class.
Also, this video is perfect for my environmental science class, as it shows the system of aqueducts and reservoirs that supplies San Diego.  I already lecture about the system that imports water to Los Angeles from Owens Valley; this will tell the rest of the story in under 90 seconds.  I'll have it in my lecture Thursday.  It's just what I needed, and I didn't know it until I watched it.
Here's another clip from KPBS on water: Public Hearing Set For San Diego's Proposed Water Rate Hikes.

San Diego's water rates have gone up dramatically in the past decade and water officials predict increases are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
I won't have time to show both this video and the other one on Thursday.  Too bad, as it is a good illustration of several economic concepts I tell my classes about.  First, when resources become scarce, price goes up.  The west is in severe drought, so this is exactly what should be expected.  Second, the price policy is explicitly one that is designed to promote conservation.  One of the strategies to reform our current economy to make it more sustainable is full-cost pricing.  At very high levels, this results in demand destruction.  Third, it's a good illustration of how costs get passed along, something that happens here when water goes from Detroit to the suburbs.  Finally, they should thank their lucky stars that water isn't in as short a supply here as it is out west.  As I tell my students, we are in the middle of the largest supply of liquid surface fresh water on the face of the planet.  It's one of our best natural assets.

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