Kudos to liberal journalist at the Center for American Progress Matthew Yglesias for recognizing the importance of markets in water for encouraging conservation and in getting supplies to poor people. As evidence, Yglesias favorably cites a 2007 study done for the Pioneer Institute in Massachusetts whose researchers reported:
We reviewed well over a hundred studies, and found strong and consistent empirical evidence that using prices to manage water demand is more cost-effective than implementing non-price conservation programs (emphasis Yglesias').
Interestingly Yglesias also acknowledges:
In general, when you take something that's valuable—fresh water, space on an arterial highway at rush hour, the right to put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—and give it a sub-market price, the result is overconsumption. Wasted water, polluted air, crowded highways, etc.
We await Yglesias' eventual realization that this same brilliant insight applies to many other commodities, such as food, clothing, housing, schooling, energy, and health care.