Moving water to where it’s needed

User “A” has some water rights that he or she would like to put to use for economic benefit, but with the current amount available and the current economics of the business in question, it’s just not penciling out. User “B” comes along offering to pay to put the water to an alternative use. What’s …

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my education in economics: an anti-Jevons anecdote

The Jevons Paradox would suggest that our new solar panels would give me an easy comfort about using more electricity. And yet, ever since we gathered two weeks ago with the installers and the electric company guy in the ritual of turning them on and watching the meter run backward, I have been obsessed with …

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Desalination and engineering optimism

Nearly every time I give a talk on water (which seems to happen frequently lately – wonder if I’ll be less popular as a speaker once the drought ends) I get asked about desalination. It is, as Bettina Boxall noted in a recent LA Times story, the stuff of dreamers: “an inexhaustible, drought-proof reservoir in …

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Agriculture and climate change

Lauren Morello at E&E has a fascinating piece about research into the views of US farmers regarding climate change: “Most of the farmers will admit that climate change is happening,” he said of the growers he advises in western Kentucky, on the Corn Belt’s eastern fringe. “What they don’t want to hear is that it’s …

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Shale gas, groundwater and real estate values

Here’s a counter-intuitive result from Lucija Muehlenbachs and colleagues about the effect of shale gas drilling on neighborhood property values: While shale gas development can result in rapid local economic development, negative externalities associated with the process may adversely affect the prices of nearby homes…. We find that proximity to wells increases housing values, though risks …

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The Jevons Paradox and greywater reuse

Hey lazyweb – anybody know if someone’s looked rigorously at the question of greywater use in the context of a Jevons-like paradox? Putting together some notes for a talk this weekend to the Xeriscape Garden Club of Albuquerque (Sat. 10 a.m. at the Garden Center if you’re in town), I’ve been thinking anew about the question …

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Another reason for New Mexicans to resent Colorado

It’s not enough that Mesa Verde is on their side of the border. (We all know it really belongs, for all practical purposes, in New Mexico.) Now I discover, playing with Google Data Explorer, that Colorado just passed New Mexico in natural gas production. Man! I thought that was the one thing we were good …

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the end of an era of good fortune?

From Jim Hamilton’s new look at the risks of an oil production plateau: Most economists view the economic growth of the last century and a half as being fueled by ongoing technological progress. Without question, that progress has been most impressive. But there may also have been an important component of luck in terms of finding and exploiting …

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