On the blog Energy Economics Exchange, Maximilian Auffhammer, a professor of sustainable development at the University of California, Berkeley, conjectures why economists, while they are flocking to the field of energy economics, are not paying as much attention to water economics. “The reason is simple,” he writes. “The data are terrible.” He expands on this point, and a few others, in an open letter/rant to his water utility, which keeps urging its customers to conserve water during the drought that grinds on in California. We took particular note of the following:
I get a letter every three months telling me how much water I consumed. I have no idea or way to figure out how much water the drip irrigation I put in with my bare hands uses (compared to the inefficient spray system the previous owner had). Trust me. I tried. I lifted the 30 pound concrete plate over my water meter and chased away a few black widows the size of chickens to find out that my water meter is analog (yes with a needle). Even running my irrigation system at full speed for 15 minutes did not move it significantly. There must be a better way. I can monitor real time electricity load for my house using my cell phone and a rainforest gateway. It must be possible to replace the 19th century meter on my house with something that uploads consumption data to my phone. The black widows want to be left alone.
The way households are left to measure their water usage is archaic, Auffhamer taunts: “How about you roll out some real time meters and let us energy people do some experiments in your service territory!”
(via Brett Walton @waltonwater)