The Arizona Republic reports that the Arizona Department of Water Resources has set six priorities for managing expected water shortages in the future. The six are listed in one of those annoying click-bait page-flipping things, so I will summarize them below:
- Resolve water disputes
- Pursue reclaimed water
- Expand monitoring (of the public's water use)
- Look at water transfers (between communities)
- Go for desalinization
- Find funding (for large scale projects)
What is missing here? Well I will give you a hint. This article was on the very same page (at least online) of the newspaper -- Phoenix has the cheapest water in the country!
If you live in Phoenix, you’re probably paying one of the cheapest annual water bills in the country, even with the rate increase that took effect this month, according to a recent national report on public water systems.
The February report by Food & Water Watch said the lead-tainted water supply in Flint, Michigan, was the most expensive in the country, with customers there paying $910.05 a year. It said Phoenix residents paid just $84.24 a year, then the lowest rate in the nation.
A city water department official said the rates could be a little misleading – rates jump for heavy users, one factor that has helped Phoenix keep water use down even as the number of water users has risen sharply.
But even after the 3 percent increase that took effect March 1, analysts say Phoenix rates are probably still among the lowest, if not the lowest, in the country for residential customers who don’t use large amounts of water in a month.
This is absurd. Why does the state agency need to go around spying on private water use and begging for funding when price is such an obvious lever to match supply and demand. Raise the freaking prices! Are we drawing from lakes and groundwater faster than they can replenish themselves? Raise the dang price until demand falls to a sustainable level. As an extra bonus, this would help solve the funding problem, and have it solved by water users themselves rather than taxpayers.
By the way, I ask these questions but I actually know the answers -- government officials don't want to take the heat when the prices rise. They want to pander to the public and hand them populist goodies like cheap water, and then manage the inevitable water crisis with authoritarian actions like rationing and surveillance that increase their personal power.
And congrats to our newspaper: It has article after article, day after day, listing all the dire water shortages that face the area, and then they write this article with nary a mention that having the country's lowest water rates might be related.