The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California provided my introduction to the strange world of western water, so I was intrigued by the findings outlined here, in the introduction to David Zetland’s thesis:
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MET), a cooperative of retail and wholesale water utilities, serves 18 million people. This case study explains how MET—as a cooperative—is inefficient and how its member agencies suffer from this inefficiency. I show that MET is inefficient by demonstrating that its members have heterogeneous preferences over outcomes: Members that are more dependent on MET prefer policies that increase water supply; others prefer lower rates. Although heterogeneity had existed since at least the 1940s, MET avoided conflict well into the 1970s.