Taxing water

 

The article from Feb. 22, “Growing Heavy” by Sena Christian, does an excellent job of presenting the issue of California’s agricultural water usage. Unfortunately, the article misses the essence of what is exacerbating the effects of California’s drought: bad economics. The market has incorrectly priced water for agriculture, which is subsequently destroying California’s economy and allowing overdraft of water resources. That cheap water is supplied by the enormous amount of infrastructure paid for by taxpayers. This water is artificially priced, meaning that farmers have no incentive to save. Increasing the tax on water would force farmers to use water more efficiently. Farmers would need to invest in equipment or infrastructure that promotes efficient water usage. And they would begin growing crops that did not require as much water, such as cereals like millet, instead of water intensive crops like alfalfa, rice, cotton and almonds. This tax would also bring in much-needed revenue to California, which is currently in debt.


Sam Holmberg
Los Angeles, California