The idea is straight out of Economics 101: If you want people to do less of something, raise the price. And California desperately needs its residents and businesses to use less water. So rather than trying to curb water use through a complex maze of regulation, why not just raise the price though a new state-wide tax on all users?
Governor Jerry Brown, perhaps feeling constrained by the state’s stiff anti-tax laws, is taking the regulatory approach. Last week he announced an executive order requiring cities to reduce their water use by 25 percent by next year.