San Francisco – California should lift bans and restrictions to help alleviate the water distribution problem, according to Go with the Flow: Why water markets can solve California’s water crisis, a Pacific Research Institute report released today.
The challenge for the Golden State is to move water from areas with abundance to areas with high demand, and to do so in the most efficient manner. Dr. Amy Kaleita, PRI Environmental Studies fellow and author of the study believes that there are more cost-effective strategies for providing water for Californians than continued centralized management and investment in massive infrastructure. The water problem in California is not insufficient supply but uneven distribution and convoluted management explains Dr. Kaleita.
The report analyzes California’s water resources and offers key policy solutions such as the need for more accurate water pricing to encourage conservation, the facilitation of water transfers by removing bureaucratic red tape, and legislation to enable the creation of fully functional statewide or regional water markets.
Among the issues discussed include a costly $9.3 billion water bond plan promoted by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Senator Diane Feinstein to provide funds for California’s water storage and conveyance infrastructure. Dr. Kaleita explains that it is more cost-effective to avoid construction and instead invest in policies that encourage conservation, reducing water consumption in a number of sectors. “California needs a policy that allows water consumers the flexibility to implement technology and management strategies best suited to their situation,” she said.