Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, August 22, 2005

Water Rationing.....AGAIN!
anal retentive fixations on power by petty bureaucrats

Water, water everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink.
Water, water everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

We have had a comparatively dry summer in our area. Consequently, with great relish the local bureaucrats in many jurisdictions have once again imposed water rationing. As one example:

Those living at odd-numbered addresses may water our lawns and gardens between 8pm and 11pm on MWF and Sundays. Those living at even-numbered addresses may water between 8pm and 11pm TuThSa and Sundays.
This is an open challenge to these municipalities and towns:

If you think the reservoirs are likely to run dangerously low on water, please raise the price of water, a lot, during dry summer periods. People respond to price incentives, and will cut back on their use of water. And if you think they won't respond enough, raise the price some more. At higher prices, some people will choose to water their lawns and gardens less, wash their cars less, take shorter showers, etc.

And don't tell me you will not raise water prices because you are concerned about whether poor people who "need" water will be able to afford it. Of course they will have to make some choices, but so will everyone else. And it is mainly wealthier folks with bigger houses and bigger lawns who use more water. Raising the price of water will surely have a much bigger dollar effect on the rich.

John Chilton (the Emirates Economist) has similarly suggested that Jeddah use the price mechanism to ration water.

I can assure you, though, that using the market to allocate water is unlikely to happen in towns and jurisdictions where petty bureaucrats have an anal retentive fixation on such powers as water rationing.

This is especially true if they took courses in so-called "urban planning" which seem primarily to be intellectually arrogant justifications for bureaucratic meddling with the market mechanism.

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