Tough new statewide regulations restricting outdoor water use took effect Tuesday, the same day millions of gallons of water gushed from a ruptured water main near the UCLA campus.
Under the emergency conservation restrictions, which were approved July 15 and were prompted by the statewide drought, hosing down driveways and sidewalks is prohibited, as is watering outdoor landscapes if it causes excess runoff.
In addition, water can't be added to a decorative water feature unless it uses a recirculating system. Californians can use a hose to wash their cars only if the hose has a shut-off nozzle.
The journal has already proved to be a welcome addition to the academic community, publishing research that addresses the financial and economic dimensions affecting the use of water resources on an international scale.
To mark a first successful year for the journal, we invite you to read the Top 10 Downloaded Papers of 2013 for free online until 25th June 2014. This includes the top downloaded paper from 2013:
Water use restrictions or wastewater recycling? A Canadian willingness to pay study for reclaimed wastewater Diane P. Dupont
Visit the journal homepage to access the articles, or to discover how to submit your own paper to this journal.
Legislation meant to stabilize the finances of the federal government’s flood-insurance program has put a big dent in the Berry family budget.
The federal governments's flood insurance program is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). John and I have both railed against NFIP before (That cover picture still cracks me up). The legislation being referred to is the Biggie-SmallsBiggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.
Debi Berry, 57, and her husband, Rick, 64, live in the village of LaRue, a flood-prone area in Marion County. They used his first Social Security check to pay their flood-insurance premium, which has nearly doubled this year to $1,089, from $622 in 2013.
Flood insurance premia doubled in the past year due to the removal of many NFIP subsidies for flood insurance by the Notorious B.I.G. Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.
“I could have thought of better uses for that money,” Mrs. Berry said.
Like Ohio State Buckeye Football season tickets! Or a bunch of scratch-offs!
But the couple needs the coverage. Floodwater from the Scioto River crept into their basement in 2011 and came close in December, and their home lender requires them to carry flood insurance.
The Scioto (pronounced Sigh-OH-ta) River is best described as a murky stream of brownish muck--sometimes a torrent after a lot of rain, or snow melt, that meanders through central Ohio, eventually merging with the Olentangy (pronounced OH-lin-tan-jee) River in downtown Columbus.
“I’m not sure I’d want to chance it without it,” she said. “We’ve been on the edge too often. I’m not sure I’d want to play that lottery game.”
But I could've used that extra money to play the Ohio lottery.
Dean Colby, 66, and his wife, Jan, 56, also of LaRue, weren’t as lucky as the Berrys. They have no basement, so in December the water rose 16 inches in their one-story home — for the second time since 2011.
"Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
They can’t use the $37,000 government check they just got for repairs until they learn if they're eligible for a second fund to raise the structure. They haven’t checked their escrow, but if their premium went up, they have no choice but to pay. They still have a mortgage, and houses in the village do not sell, Mrs. Colby said.
Maybe that's because they keep getting filled with water?
But now, the couples might be in line for a break on their premiums. Last week, Congress sent to President Barack Obama legislation meant to roll back some of the increases that homeowners across the country have experienced since Congress passed a flood-insurance-reform act in 2012.
Ummm...the new legislation did not roll back any price increases, because the Big Daddy Kane Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act (BWFIRA) didn't RAISE prices. The BWFIRA removed subsidies in the NFIP that were responsible for establishing prices LOWER than were efficient. The BWFIRA simply took a step towards eliminating inefficient subsidies and returning prices to their efficient, unsibsidied, socially more deisrable levels.
Now back to the snark.
The 2012 act aimed to shore up a program that is $24 billion in the hole.
...because he remembers as a kid how much fun it was to build a sand castle on the Hawaiian beaches and then watch the tide roll in to wash the sand castle away, only to start anew anew tomorrow.
That's the childhood equivalent of the incentives built into the NFIP subsidies.
One aim of the 2012 law was to roll back some of the federal subsidies that critics say have spurred private insurers to largely avoid the flood-insurance market.
Because private insurers know that the low premia the government charges are NOT FISCALLY VIABLE.
But the law resulted in huge increases in flood-insurance costs at a time when prices of regular homeowner policies were on the rise anyway because of extraordinary losses caused by tornadoes and other powerful storms in recent years.
There may be ways to live with a permanently drier Colorado, but none of them are easy. Finding more water is possible — San Diego is already building a desalination plant on the Pacific shore — but there are too few sources to make a serious dent in a shortage.
Working to reduce water consumption by 20 percent per person from 2010 to 2020, Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District is recycling sewage effluent, giving away high-efficiency water nozzles and subsidizing items like artificial turf and zero-water urinals.
The new flood insurance rules, which went into effect on Oct. 1, are intended to make the deeply indebted NFIP solvent by no longer charging government-subsidized rates on homes in flood-prone areas. The hikes will affect about 20 percent of the 5.5 million people who have NFIP policies around the country, as well as thousands more who live in areas that didn’t used to be considered flood-prone but who now must buy insurance under the new FEMA map.
The NFIP subsidized rates have allowed people for years to build in flood-prone areas that, in some cases, probably never should have been built on in the first place. But the feds’ solution to this — hiking up rates over four years until they reach market price — could leave millions of homeowners unable to afford the steep new prices. If these homeowners try to sell their houses, they’ll most likely find it tough to find a buyer, who would inherit the new insurance rates. (People with mortgages are required to purchase the insurance — those who’ve paid off their homes can skip it.)
For years, the federal government has subsidized flood insurance premiums for people whose homes are built in flood-prone areas. One can speculate as to the motivation (real or otherwise) for the subsidization--those with low income can't afford to build elsewhere, private insurance markets overprice insurance in flood prone areas,...--but one thing is certain: flood insurance priced below the efficient market price will lead to too much construction in flood prone areas. Perhaps worse, if the insurance rates are too low--as was the case with the National Flood Insurance Program--there is an incentive to rebuild in areas likely to flood again.
It seems the federal government learned some lessons after Hurricane Katrina and has decided to raise the price of flood insurance by removing subsidies for rebuilt homes in the wake of Super-duper Storm Sandy. While well-intended, and the right move from an economic efficiency point of view, the removal of an inefficient policy is going to create short-term hardships for a significant number of people.
Don't get me wrong. I applaud the move toward actuarily efficient pricing of flood insurance.
I just feel bad for those who made decisions based on bad policy only to see it changed midstream.
Warning: Spoiler Alert below the jump. If you haven't read 'Inferno' yet, don;t read below the jump, I'm going to give away the plot and ending.
I recently finished reading Dan Brown's (author of The Da Vinci Code) newest book 'Inferno.' As a casual reader of the book, I found it entertaining. Brown does his typical job of keeping the action moving, mixing in some interesting conspiracy theories, making me want to visit some cities I've never been to, and making it seem like being a college professor might be cool (although I have my doubts). I didn't enjoy it as much as The Da Vinci Code, which I didn't enjoy as much Angels and Demons, but still a good read (and I refuse to accept that The Lost Symbol was written).
But, as an economist, I found the book to be complete nonsense.
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