Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Comedy of the Commons

The other day on the radio I heard someone from one of the local councils complaining that people weren’t using enough water. Under pressure from the state government they had switched from a flat fee structure to a pay for use system . Now pensioners were refusing to water their lawns, he said, and the town was starting to look drab and brown. ‘It’s silly,’ he said ‘The river flows right through town. We’ve got plenty of water. It’s one of the things that attract people to our area. And its not like the extra water costs us anything: all of our expenses are involved with the infrastructure for delivery, which costs us the same no matter how much people use.’

There certainly is a fine river flowing through that particular local council area, but I understand it is a saline trickle by the time it reaches the ocean… I should like to see this local council required to bid for water licenses in competition with all of the cotton growers, rice growers, fruit and vegetable growers, and other towns and cities further downstream. Allocate enough for everyone to have one free toilet flush per day from the river, O Greenly-inclined State Government, and auction off the rest!

2 comments:

Jenny said...

Then those who don't need to flush can sell off their allocated flush to those with flushing needs, like carbon credits.

Marco said...

I just love water allocations trading. I believe it could have saved the Aral sea....