Water: Priceless Resource?. Karst Institute Guizhou University June 20, 2011 by Merton Finkler, Ph.D Lawrence University . Priceless. Priceless. Definition 1: Item so valuable that it is impossible or immoral to put a high enough price on it
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June 20, 2011
by Merton Finkler, Ph.D
Tradeable ownership rights allow people to sell water to those who desire them more
No need to “use it or lose it”
Can trade across seasons
Can conserve water and trade rights
These things all happen in Oregon with the assistance of the Oregon Water Trust
* Allouez bills monthly; rate blocks are normalized to equivalent three month volumes.
People recognize that low tariffs are costly over time.
Acceptance of benefit principle: user pays
Applied to water resource use, water supply and sewerage
Percentage of wastewater treating has gone from 5% (2000) to 80% (today.)
Water consumption reduced by 3 to 5% soon after tariff increase.
I welcome your questions
Started using water rates for conservation
Features very different rates for different classes of user with agricultural and industrial rates much below residential
This yields both inefficient (wasteful) and inequitable results.
If water conservation is to become a serious policy objective, stronger pricing incentives are needed.