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Re: [LandCafe] Re: Water metering

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  • Dan Sullivan
    This raises the important distinction between user fees, burden fees and congestion charges. Where water is not scarce, most of the cost of purification and
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 13, 2006
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      This raises the important distinction between user fees, burden fees
      and congestion charges. Where water is not scarce, most of the cost of
      purification and delivery is a fixed overhead cost. That cost is about
      the same no matter how much a particular customer uses. It is pretty
      much a service to land generally, and should be paid for from a land
      value tax.

      Although a vacant lot does not use the water at this time, one must
      either build extra capacity to anticipate future development of such
      lots or risk the system becoming prematurely obsolete.

      Where water is scarce, as in California and, no doubt, in various arid
      areas around the world, it makes sense to charge a premium that
      reduces waste. For the rest of us, it is proper only to charge a tiny
      amount for the marginal cost of extra purifying and pumping that each
      gallon of use invokes. Even that might not be worth charging for if
      the cost of metering, assessing and billing overshadows the marginal
      costs of purifying and pumping.

      In most of the United States, water is also plentiful, but it has been
      customary to make meter revenues pay the whole cost of water and
      sewer infrastructure. That shifts the burden from speculators on land
      served by water and sewer systems to actual land users. Here in
      Pittsburgh, replacing water charges with a land value tax would cost
      most home owners less and apartment users and owners (viewed as a
      sort of partnership) much less.

      It is also another example of why the term "privatization" is usually a
      euphemism for either contract patronage or franchised monopoly.

      -ds

      On 12 Mar 2006 at 23:31, John wrote:

      > Firstly, the UK is NOT short of water. It has an abundance of the
      > stuff. Water is not "precious" in the UK, despite what I can only
      > regard as propaganda telling us so.
      >
      > Selling product is different to selling an essential service. Very
      > different. Selling product means you need a product that is
      > competitive in function and price. The water companies have no
      > competition whatsoever - private monopolies.
      >
      > The privateers have assessed the cost of upgrading the water
      > infrastructure, which would also involve:
      >
      > creating a national grid for water vesus
      > reduced water consumption by installing water meters.
      >
      > Installing water meters won. On the surface that appears OK as it
      > will stop so-called water wasting. But because they have skimped on
      > upgrading the largly Victorian infrastructure to pay out dividends,
      > when there is a tiny bit of a dry spell in some areas the
      > infrastructure can't cope - hence hosepipe bans and standpipes in the
      > streets in some. Yes, in a country that has an abundance of water, so
      > much so we can aford to waste some and not meter it (most homes are
      > not metered).
      >
      > For decades the UK shipped tankers of water from the UK to
      > Gibraltar, yet the privateers say they cannot pipe water from one
      > county to the next. Total ********!!!! We have been spun a line.
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