In celebration of Earth Day 2010, I am dedicating this post to … money. Or, more accurately, economics and how the “dismal science” is used in conversations about water resources. I think it is useful to understand the ways in which economics is used, because it helps to draw out connections between water management techniques that might not be apparent otherwise. Note that I am not writing here about different movements within economics (although that might be interesting at another time), but about the use of economics and economic concepts in water resources management. This post describes three primary uses of economics, although these are undoubtedly too few, too broad and too narrow. My observations are certainly not unique, and many of you have thought about these categories before. I would love to hear your comments below.
The east African nation of Kenya is currently in the process of considering a new constitution, and one issue is the inclusion of a right to water. A harmonised draft constitution was prepared by a Committee of Experts and released for public comment on 17 November 2009, and it included a provision on water in Chapter 6, the Bill of Rights. Specifically, draft Section 66 provides that “Every person has the right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities.” The draft document is currently being reviewed by a Parliamentary Select Committee, after which the constitution will be sent to the full Parliament and then to the voters in approximately March 2010. It is uncertain whether the right to water will remain in the draft constitution through adoption, although there is some reason to believe it will be struck.