Friday, January 30, 2009

The Year of Water

The School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) has declared that the 2008-09 academic year is The Year of Water. The latest issue of their alumni journal, SAISPHERE, published at the very end of 2008, is dedicated to water policy. The articles are short, accessible, and free online.

Here's Professor Charles F. Doran, from his article, Canada: To Sell or Not to Sell?:
Water is no longer a free good, anywhere. With a dollar sign attached, water will be used more carefully. More particularly, water ought to be properly priced across users and uses within each country so that low-grade uses do not absorb the larger share of water supplies, while higher-grade uses are denied availability.
It's never been a free good, of course, but it is good to see increasing recognition that it should be priced and priced accurately. Growing up in Northern California I grew tired of hearing Mark Twain's (misattributed?) famous saying that whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over, but it still stands as one of the most astute comments about our policies and the feelings they provoke.

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