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Water Market Offers Better Approach to Conservation

Gov. Jerry Brown’s April 1 order for a 25 percent reduction in urban water use follows unprecedented restrictions from the State Water Resources Control Board in March. Such top-down mandates would be unnecessary if California followed more innovative approaches already working in other places plagued by drought.

The new rules in California limit watering lawns, serving water in restaurants and using potable water on golf courses, and prohibit hosing off driveways and decks. The reductions will be enforced using fines, cease-and-desist orders and enforcement officials. This is what happens when market prices are not used to allocate water.

Lawrence J. McQuillan is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute, and author of the Independent book, California Dreaming: Lessons on How to Solve America's Public Pension Crisis, he also a contributor to the book Pope Francis and the Caring Society. .

Aaron L. White is a Policy Analyst at the Independent Institute

New from Lawrence J. McQuillan!
CALIFORNIA DREAMING: Lessons on How to Resolve America’s Public Pension Crisis
In California Dreaming, Lawrence J. McQuillan pulls back the curtains covering this unfunded liability crisis. He describes the true extent of the problem, explains the critical factors that are driving public pension debt sky-high, and exposes the perverse incentives of lawmakers and pension officials that reward them for not fixing the problem and letting it escalate.