“As Alex Tabarrok points out, California has plenty of water. What it doesn’t have are prices — or rather, market prices. Although a lot of well-meaning people insist that water is a right, I notice that my ‘right to water’ in no way changes the fact I have to pay the government monopoly for it ($44.91 last month). So even if there is a right to water, as Tabarrok quotes Matt Kahn, there is no natural right to always pay half a cent per gallon for it, regardless of supply or demand.
The price controls and subsidies for water use also have behavioral consequences:
As David Zetland points out in an excellent interview with Russ Roberts, people in San Diego county use around 150 gallons of water a day. Meanwhile in Sydney Australia, with a roughly comparable climate and standard of living, people use about half that amount. Trust me, no one in Sydney is going thirsty.”