Water Use Comparison of 5 U.S. Cities
Water prices are generally set to be as low as possible, but this does not encourage conservation. If prices are increased, some of the economic and environmental bads that occur as a result of overuse and abuse will be lessened. Everyone should be guaranteed a base quantity of water at a low price. After that point however, price should increase substantially. Those who use more would pay more per unit for the luxury consumption. This is called increasing block pricing, and can be used as an effective conservation tool. (see Irvine Ranch Table) Companion methods to increase conservation include water audits to locate intentional and unintentional consumption. From there leaks are repaired, water-efficient fixtures are installed, and conservation methods are implemented. Efficiency subsidies should be a part of a conservation initiative.
Block Pricing Irvine Ranch Water District
-Briscoe, John. 1996. Water as an Economic Good: The Idea and What it Means in Practice. The World Bank, Washington, DC
- Sunding D. 2000. The price of water: Market-based strategies are needed to cope with scarcity. Cal Ag 54(2):56-63. DOI: 10.3733/ca.v054n02p56