Which is worse, paying for stuff you use . . . or being constantly harassed for using it?
One consequence of widespread failure to charge market rates for water turns out to be hyper-regulation of hydro-usage, and the penalizing — even criminalizing — of using “too much” H2O.
To deal with drought, California now regards it as criminal to “waste” water. Don’t hose down that sidewalk! Las Vegas tries to save water by paying people to rip out their lawns. The EPA is developing technology to force hotels to monitor guests’ specific water usage.
In unhampered markets, sudden and big drops in supply tend to cause sudden and big rises in prices. People economize without being forced. If you must pay more for orange juice because of frozen crops, you either buy less juice or buy less of something else (if orange juice is your favorite thing). But the shelves don’t go bare.
The worse supply problems are, the higher the prices, the more customers economize, the more producers produce. So when there’s a local drought, what will a water company do (as opposed to an overweening water authority)? Charge more. Pipe in water from other states. Other solutions I can’t think of offhand . . . because I’m not running a water company. I lack the direct incentive that the possible profit from solving the problem provides.
Let people cooperate with each other. That is how they’ll solve their water problems — without governmental bullying.
The water will come like rain.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.