Search the Site

Posts Tagged ‘water’

The Opportunity Cost of Water

With the continuing drought in South Texas, the issue of how to allocate scarce water resources has flared up again. Rice farmers south of Austin want water from the Colorado River for their crops; yet the two storage lakes on the river, which provide most of the Austin area’s drinking water, are less than half full.  As one rice farmer told the the Austin American-Statesman: “Water availability should be based on sound hydrology and not on political pressure.” It should be based on neither—it should be based on economics—what is the opportunity cost of the water?  In particular, one might ask why the U.S. is growing rice at all.  It is hard to believe we have a comparative advantage in rice-growing and that it shouldn’t all be imported.  That’s especially true about rice grown in dry South Texas. We grow rice because of entrenched interests that obtained water rights many years ago.  The rice farmers get heavily subsidized water precisely because of the political pressure this man deplores—and they now want to compound the effects of bad policy.

Why Water Will Never Be the Next Oil: A Guest Post by Charles Fishman

Here now is the second in a series of guest posts from Charles Fishman, whose new book is called The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. (Fishman’s last book is The Wal-Mart Effect.) In The Big Thirst, Fishman tackles the debate around water as an increasingly precious resource while reminding us that water can’t actually be . . .

Why Doesn't SXSW Hand Out Free Water?

A reader named Shira Bannerman writes:

I just spent the week at SXSW, an indie music festival in Austin, TX, that attracted around 230,00 attendees. (Well, first it’s an interactive media and movie fest, but I only went for the music fest portion. I’d also specifically like to mention that my experience is only reflective of the free concerts, as I didn’t pay for a wristband and don’t know if that experience is much different.)

World Water Day: Nudges for Safe Water

What if a simple ‘nudge’ could massively increase the use of safe water in poor countries?
Today is World Water Day, a day to raise awareness for something we take for granted in America: clean water. Normally I yawn at Hallmark-meets-poverty-program type publicity stunts. Reminds me of many a microcredit “awareness” campaign that paraded superstar microentrepreneurs on a stage, ignoring the need for rigorous evidence to find out if microcredit actually works.

Water Around the World

March 22 was World Water Day, and two excellent photo essays draw attention to the issue.

Grazing the Non-Commons

Central Texas is having its worst drought in 50 years, and since May we have been limited to twice-a-week lawn watering. With things getting worse, on August 24 the limit goes to once per week. I’ll abide by the limit, but I’ll set my sprinklers to run longer each session than during the twice-a-week watering.

Oil and Water: A Guest Post

David Zetland David Zetland, the S.V. Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow in Natural Resource Economics and Political Economy at U.C. Berkeley, blogged here earlier this week about the economics of water. This is his second of two posts on the subject. Oil and Water By David Zetland A Guest Post Over the past few months, newspapers, blogs, and television screens have been . . .

Say Goodbye to Bottled Water?

Elizabeth Royte‘s new book is called Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It. I haven’t read it yet, but I gather that it ably summarizes the growing economic and environmental backlash against bottled water. So maybe the world is ready for the Xziex Atmospheric Water Generator, a tiny machine that makes “fresh clean water from thin . . .