Well, the Arizona Republic has done it again. It has published yet another first-section front page water article (this makes about 50 in a row) discussing ways to make demand match supply without once discussing price. This time, the reporting centers on a new online water supply and demand simulation model (here) introduced by Arizona State University. With the model, the public gets to play dictator, implementing all kinds of policies and restrictions on individual consumers to see what effect these command and control steps have on water supply and demand. And it is almost anti-climactic when I tell you that price does not enter in any way into the model.
I probably don't have to remind readers that Phoenix has some of the cheapest water in the country, with prices less than half what they are in, say, water-logged Seattle. Don't you think that might have a little to do with why supply and demand don't match?
Let's say there are about a 1000 key raw materials we use in modern society -- oil, natural gas, iron ore, uranium, bauxite, titanium, gold, silver, etc. Of these, how do we match supply and demand? Well, for 999 of the 1000, we use this thingie called the price mechanism. The exception is water. And it is incredible to me that not one but dozens of articles could be written by our newspaper about matching water supply and demand and not one of them could mention price, the mechanism we use to match supply and demand for 99.9% of commodities. Remember when Hillary suggested a while back we need a special academy for government workers? This is what they would teach -- that all problems can only be solved by government command and control. As I wrote before:
In their general pandering and populism, politicians are afraid to
raise water prices, fearing the decision would be criticized. So, they
keep prices artificially low, knowing that this low price is causing
reservoirs and aquifers to be pumped faster than their replacement
rate. Then, as the reservoirs go dry, the politicians blame us, the
consumers, for being too profligate with water and call for ... wait
for it ... more power for themselves, the ones whose spinelessness is
the root cause of the problem, to allocate and ration water and