To regulate or not to regulate: California looks for solutions to another year of dry conditions

Fallow fields and cattle for sale foreshadow a future of continued drought for California. The state’s Department of Water Resources reports that some contractors will benefit from only 15 percent of their typical allocation.

According to Capitol Weekly, a new study by the University of California–Berkeley found that climate change could cost California $300 million to $3.9 billion annually. A significant decrease in already limited water resources — the shrink originating from sources such as the famed Sierra snowpack — could result in a $5 billion loss for the state.

Wendy Martin, statewide drought coordinator for the state Department of Water Resources, believes that climate change has little to do with the droughts. “We are experiencing more dramatic storms instead of consistent rain,” Martin said. “But no, I do not think that global warming itself is the cause.”

Either way, California must find a solution. As the state toys with rationing as a solution David Zetland, an economist at the University of California, argues that imposed rationing may not be the answer to the shortages. Instead, he suggests that the solution might be to “Raise urban prices; allow Statewide trading.” Zetland proposes that, much like gas prices, increased costs could automatically curb consumer appetites.

Read more here and here.

Source: Capitol Weekly, Aguanomics

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