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This is just Jevons again

Jevons’ Paradox:

There’s a widespread belief that these problems can be solved simply by enhancing the efficiency of irrigation: huge amounts of water are wasted in agriculture. So let me introduce you to the irrigation efficiency paradox. As better techniques ensure that less water is required to grow a given volume of crops, irrigation becomes cheaper. As a result, it attracts more investment, encourages farmers to grow thirstier, more profitable plants, and expands across a wider area. This is what happened, for instance, in the Guadiana river basin in Spain, where a €600m investment to reduce water use by improving the efficiency of irrigation has instead increased it.

You can overcome the paradox through regulation: laws to limit both total and individual water consumption. But governments prefer to rely on technology alone. Without political and economic measures, it doesn’t work.

Jevons is a maybe, it depends, not an is.

The depends is the elasticity of demand with respect to price. Now if George were even capable of understanding that we’d all be happier. But given that we, we initiates, know what it is we can now see how to square that circle. You charge farmers more for their irrigation water. Thereby changing that price movement to which they are reacting.

Job done.

George just never does get economics, does he?

14 thoughts on “This is just Jevons again”

  1. ’…encourages farmers to grow thirstier, more profitable plants…’

    And why are they more profitable? Because people want to buy and eat them. Does that not ever occur to George?

  2. The drought in Andalucia is the result of overdevelopment rather than climate. And they´re still building furiously. Of course the water coming out of the taps here (if you’re lucky) is the water not coming out the taps in Croyden & Copenhagen. So globally it nets to zero.
    Incidentally, the water supply company put 10 tons of high pressure water through the sewers opposite me on Sunday. Doesn’t take much imagination to work out that’s the builders putting up a block of flats washing their cement down the drain, which has set off in pipes & caused a sewerage blockage. Wonder if they’ll have to dig that lot up?
    It’s been fascinating watching this dago shower take a cart & horses through every health & safety & environmental reg I can think of. Friday they were back to craning plastic wrapped pallets of bricks over busy traffic from a truck in the middle of the road. One split in that plas & a rough lift’d have that lot free falling. from 60ft onto a bus. There’s been things been happening on that site, right from the demolition, would have UK building control giving birth to a litter of perfectly formed spaniel pups. As would’ve my UK indemnity insurers. On the other hand, they haven’t done bad for 7 months. They’ll be done inside the year.

  3. Georgie and Johnny must be a wow after a good lunch at Cafe Celia after the third bottle of Gevry Chambertin and the second bottle of Napoleon.
    “What’s your piece today, Johnny?”
    “Oh, I don’t bother keeping abreast, George, so I think it’s time I did my piece on austerity. How about you, George? Climate change?”
    “No, one of David’s writers said something about farmers using too much water, so I’ll dream up something about that”

  4. ” You charge farmers more for their irrigation water. ”

    Well what was the f*cking point of making it cheaper then?

  5. If we are running out of water does that mean the polar ice caps are no longer melting and the sea levels won’t be rising?

    It’s so hard to keep up with the climate scaremongering du jour.

  6. Water’s cheaper, farmers grow thirstier plants – why? Because people prefer the thirsty plants & now they can afford them. The proles’ lives improve thanks to cheaper water. This is bad, because – reasons!

  7. It is the case that EU farmers are being encouraged – subsidies – to grow non-native crops like avocado and kiwi which require very large amounts of water, so they don’t have to cross oceans from places they grow easily, in order to save CO2 emissions and hence the Planet from the climate change doom.

    Could this be a factor here? More profitable meaning you get taxpayer money to grow the crop.

  8. Funny how the environmentalists are against all the solutions, lack of fresh water and desalination is demonic, reliable low carbon power and nuclear is demonic

  9. George just never does get economics, does he?

    I’m sure he doesn’t, but he mainly doesn’t care. He’s a quasi-religious fanatic.

    EU farmers are being encouraged – subsidies – to grow non-native crops like avocado

    That’s fine by me, especially now we’re out of the EU. The best avocados I’ve ever eaten came from Spain.

  10. The use of technologies such as water moisture measuring sensors, multispectral aerial imaging, etc. to manage croplands on an acre by acre basis rather than on a field by field basis, are about maximizing crop yields, not minimizing the use of water for irrigation. In some cases, a farmer may find he hasn’t been irrigating enough.

  11. Avocados don’t need much water. As far as I know they’re averse to too much water. And they’re very easy to grow. There’s a bit of disused land not far from here. Belongs to a pal. It was included in the workshop he bought. That’s covered in them. Usually produces a good crop, so where we get ours. There’s no work put into them, irrigation or anything. They just grow, fruit & fall off & rot if you don’t pick them. I know the fallen ones root very easily. Probably accounts for this thicket.

  12. “George doesn’t get economics”. He doesn’t have to – he’s rich enough to be insulated from the effects of all the shite that he advocates for. Which goes for most of the BBC, Guardian and upper reaches of the lanyard class. All they have to do is periodically wonder why the plebs are so unhappy in the world that the things they push for have created.

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