The recent article describing how “expensive” ag water has become is very instructive. It makes it crystal clear how absurd it is to ask residential consumers to conserve as a way to combat our drought.
A price of $1,000 per acre-foot translates to about 0.3 cents per gallon. At this price, my residential water bill would be reduced by roughly 90%. I would then have no economic incentive to conserve. According to UC Davis, ag uses 80% of our developed water supply. Incidentally, ag accounts for less than 2% of our state’s economic output.
If we have any hope of conserving our way out of the drought, ag water needs to become much more expensive to sufficiently incentivize conservation to actually make a difference.