Saturday, April 18, 2015

Can't pay? Won't pay! -- putting a price on water

Space Daily via AFP: It's arguably our most vital and precious natural resource, and one that is growing dangerously scarce from China to California, but no matter how much we value water, we're not that keen on paying for it.

The issue of pricing water is extremely sensitive -- socially, politically, economically -- but it's an issue that is being revisited with increasing frequency as warnings of a looming global crisis over water scarcity grow louder.

A recent editorial in The Economist and an op-ed piece in the New York Times -- on China's and California's chronic water shortages respectively -- both insisted that the best way forward was to raise prices.

The suggestion raises the hackles of those who feel pricing public water is tantamount to monetising nature, while others say there is simply no alternative given UN estimates that the world will face a 40 percent "global water deficit" by 2030.

"If you have an artificially low price for a product, you tend to consume more of it and tend not to give it importance," said Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)....

Photo by Juhanson, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

No comments: