In southern and eastern England we’ve had exceptionally two dry years since records began. With no way of knowing what mother nature will bring us, Thames Water, along with others have introduced “temporary use bans”. To you and me that means hosepipe bans.
So after this, The 60 Second Economist is left with a dilemma.
Do I water my garden or break the law?
In recent days we’ve seen huge amounts of rainfall so lots of people have been moaning about this so called “drought”. However remember you don’t cure a water shortage with some April showers neither do you get a water shortage from a dry week. We take averages over an entire year.
There’s a flaw with the water ban; it targets how the water is transported not its consumption. It basically says you can flush your toilet 2000 times but risk getting a fine for using a hosepipe to wash your car. But then no fine for using buckets and buckets of water to clean your car.
There are even loopholes* within the law:
- You can power wash your patio if healthy & safety concerns you.
- Fountains may flow if they lead to a pond containing goldfish.
You get the idea how we can make the law work around our own needs & desires.
From an economics point of view rationing is a crude solution, instead we should incentivise the use of less water-CentreForum, a think-tank, also thinks the same.
Lets have a basic rate for the first X litres anyone uses. From there onwards increase the rate for every extra Y amount. Commercial water users would then pay more for using more and domestic users can still do basic things like wash and bathe.
Of course this may mean installing metres in every household-which can be costly but in the long run it should pay off.
*Loopholes pointed out by The Economist (Print Edition)