Arbitrary governmental pricing of water — as opposed to free-market pricing — provides one major reason why it’s so hard for Californians and others to deal with drought.
I’ve talked about it before. And, as before — indeed, as is so often the case when government constricts our freedom to “solve” problems — the do-badders are pursuing more than one line of attack.
Under-pricing plus edicts about how we may use water are bad enough, sure. But that kind of central planning is just one method of making it harder to quench thirst and water lawns and crops. Another method? Diverting massive amounts of water from the service of human needs in order to “help” a few expendable fish.
In his Reason article “California Drought a Shortage of Water or Common Sense?,” Steven Greenhut laments fishy schemes to lower reservoir levels and drain a lake near the Sierra foothills “to help coax a handful of steelhead trout to swim to the ocean.” Handful? Maybe not quite. Nine fish. A mere nine.
The Lake Tulloch Alliance estimated that up to $2 million in water value would have to be expended to save each individual fish.
Thanks to coverage like Greenhut’s and Stephen Moore’s, and the resultant public outcry — plus the eventual resistance of local water district officials to the environmental demands of state and federal agencies — this particular attempt by radical environmentalists to elevate fish life above human life has been deflected. At least for now.
But there are more battles to come.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.