National University System Institute for Policy Research

(858) 642-8498 Get Started

Water shortage: An economic challenge?

EconoMeter panel answers if we must make radical shifts if drought continues

Roger Showley, U-T SAN DIEGO

Friday, February 27, 2015

View Article

Kelly Cunningham, National University System
Answer: YES

If drought conditions continue indefinitely then significant changes will be necessary for both residential and business users. Scarcity, higher water prices and other market forces will further coerce conservation, reduce agriculture usage, and conversion of land to less water-intensive uses. While San Diego’s agriculture industry is most directly impinged, other industries negatively impacted range from biotech/pharmaceuticals and craft beer brewers to golf courses and landscaping businesses. Both people and employers will absorb higher costs for delivery and adjust usage due to the greater expense. Relatively expensive desalination also becomes more viable as an alternative reliable source for water needs.