Moving beyond the “water wars” frame

To speak of ‘war’ is to invoke images of militaries, violent conflict and destruction on a grand scale. Although we do not deny that water can be a factor – one among many – in some conflicts and mainly at intra-state level, we question why this drift towards water ‘securitisation’ at this time? To align …

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Adam Smith on the value of water

The word value, it is to be observed, has two different meanings, and sometimes expresses the utility of some particular object, and sometimes the power of purchasing other goods which the possession of that object conveys. The one may be called value in use; the other, value in exchange. The things which have the greatest …

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Urban Trees and Water Use in Arid Climates: Insights from an Integrated Bioeconomic-Health Model, Jones and Fleck, 2018

Managing outdoor water use while maintaining urban tree cover is a key challenge for water managers in arid climates. Urban trees generate flows of ecosystem services in arid areas, but also require significant amounts of irrigation. In this paper, a bioeconomic-health model of trees and water use is developed to investigate management of an urban …

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When people find out how cheap their water is, they use more of it

The conventional wisdom (and by “conventional wisdom” I guess I mean “what Fleck thought until just now”) is that giving water users better information about their usage and the price they’re paying could be a useful water conservation tool. Well, maybe not, according to some interesting new research by Daniel A. Brent of Pennsylvania State University …

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Some helpful context for understanding the Central Arizona Project managers’ decisions in current Colorado River governance scrap

A guest post from Water Nerd, originally posted in the comments here and lifted, with permission, into a post of its own. It’s a valuable contribution to the discussion of the current scrapping on the Colorado River. ******** One of the most interesting ideas you discuss in your book is the application of Elinor Ostrom’s …

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We need to come to terms with the fact that we’re using less water

tl;dr Western water policy and politics has to come to grips with the fact that overall water use is declining, not rising, as populations and economies grow. The longer version…. Two years ago, when I was deeply immersed in the act of writing my book, I had an incredibly important conversation with Emily Turner, my …

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Iron, plastic, and big pipe’s battle to replace your municipal plumbing

Hiroko Tabuchi has a fascinating piece in this morning’s New York Times about a battle underway to determine whether gazillions of dollars in infrastructure spending to upgrade America’s municipal plumbing is spent on iron or plastic pipe. It features a couple of issues I love to talk about with our University of New Mexico Water …

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