Kill Your Status Quo

I talk a lot to specialists and the public. Sometimes I'm quoted.

I believe economists should make an active effort to interest the local newspaper and other media in such issues. Stories of a small entrenched interest robbing the general public are the kind of story that does go well once you sell a reporter. Further, they are not particularly complicated. — Gordon Tullock (1984)
Also see my water chats with others, teaching, popular writing and academic writing

My best four minute video: political lobbying demonstrated in an all-pay auction.

Here's a playlist of my talks on YouTube, but here are my Berkeley lectures and here are my Simon Fraser U lectures.


Jan 18-19: "Water Civilization: The evolution of the Dutch drinking water sector" at Stanford (video with slides), Davis (1 hr audio and pdf slides) and Berkeley (1 hr audio and pdf slides)

Jan 18: "Water sourcerers" at Sacramento News and Review [backup]


Oct 26: "Worry about human-caused damages, not NBS" (full video -- I start at 30:30 and my outline [pdf]) for the Nature Based Solutions conference in Tallinn

Oct 2: IHE-Delft Wiked Debate on the Value of Water (full video -- I start at 26:30)

Sep 21: "Nestle Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For" at Bloomberg Businessweek [backup]

Sep 1: "The political-economy of water scarcity" (PDF slides and 21 min MP3) for SENSE water workshop @ VU

Aug 9: "Adapting to climate change impacts" (PDF slides and 66 min MP3) for Climate Change Summer School @ VU

Jul 14: "Opponents of California's Delta Tunnels Project Push Alternative Strategies" [backup] at Water Deeply

Jun 13: "Some thoughts on sustainable solutions" (PDF slides and 58 min MP3) for Closing Conference System Earth @ Leiden

May 17: "A panel discussion on investing in climate mitigation" hosted by DiEM25 in Den Haag

Apr 21: "Waarom drugsdealers hun business beter runnen dan Airbnb (Why drug dealers run their business better than Airbnb)" at Vice

Apr 4: "Taxation Beats Regulation for Amsterdam's Tourist Dilemma" at Independent Media International

Feb 20: "Markets bring prosperity (usually)" (PDF slides and 92 min MP3) for Global Challenges: Prosperity plenary at LUC

Feb 13: "Got Almond Milk? Dairy Farms Protest Milk Label on Nondairy Drinks" in the New York Times.

Feb 13: "Principal-agent dynamics" (PDF slides and 91 min MP3) for Global Challenges: Prosperity plenary at LUC

Feb 2: "Teaching the Commons" (PDF slides and 54 min MP3) at National Interdisciplinary Education Conference, Amsterdam

Jan 27: "Important issues on the use and abuse of data" (PDF slides) at Data Science and Good Governance kickoff, Den Haag


Dec 9: "Climate change impacts on water, the environment and food security" (PDF slides and 28 min MP3) at iBridges, Barcelona

Nov 22: "Suriname Will Tow a Giant Bag of Water to Fight the Caribbean's Drought" at

Nov 3: "Livestock Production Drinks Up Water in Drought-Stricken California" in Comstock's

Oct 31: "Willen we meer of minder vis? In deze achterkamertjes regelen we dat" ["Do we want more or fewer fish? We decide in the backrooms"] at De Correspondent

Sep 23: "Why are we so bad at managing water?" (PDF slides and 28 min MP3) at Nerd Nite 28, Amsterdam

Sep 1: "Charlie Whinney talks to guest judge David Zetland about Life Plus 2M" (3 min interview) for HourofWrites

Aug 9: "Davos Woman's pointless run through deserts" at Nonprofit Chronicles blog

May 25: "Economic instruments and water use in Kazakhstan" (PDF slides and 11m MP3) at the Astana Economic Forum

Apr 13: "Water Economist's Dire Predictions All Came True" (13 min) on the David Pakman Show

Mar 31: "Loanfax, a failure" (13 min MP3) at Fucked Up Night (Institute for Innovation, Den Haag)

Mar 21: "The Worth of Water: An Interview with David Zetland" at FluksAqua

Feb 15: "Principal-Agent Dynamics" (PDF slides and 1h 19m MP3 for Global Challenges: Prosperity students at LUC

Feb 11: "America's Water Infrastructure Is In Absolutely Terrible Shape" at the Huffington Post

Jan 25: "Flint's Water Crisis Should Raise Alarms for America's Aging Cities" in Fortune


Nov 17: "Delivering (selling) impact" (47 min MP3 and PDF slides) for Leiden University students taking "Entrepreneurship for Society"

Oct 14: "U.S. Forest Service sued over a bottler's water permit" (2:14 radio) at Marketplace

Oct 7: "What's a plausible 2060?" (3 min MP3 and PDF slide) for Water Innovation Lab, Scotland

Oct 1: "GEDtalk with David Zetland" (58 min) with LUC's 22F(M)

Oct 1: "Different perspectives on impact" (45 min MP3 and PDF slides) for Leiden University students taking "Entrepreneurship for Society"

Sep/Oct: "Water is scarce, now what?" in The Studentground

Sep 21: "Experts: California drought, fire crisis man-made" at WND

Sep 16: "The pros and cons of water metering in England" (45 min MP3 and PDF slides) at Water Demand Workshop, London

Aug 31: "A Lot to Learn: California Falls Behind in Water Management" at Water Deeply

Aug 28: "Investors Are Grabbing a Japan-Size Chunk of the Developing World for Food and Water" at takepart

Aug 20: "Should I Eat Almond Butter?" at Time

Aug 20: "Aquiva's pro-poor, less-energy desalination" (5 min MP3 and PDF slides) at Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam

Jul 17: "The Value of Water on the West Coast -- And Why California Is So Screwed" at VICE News

Jul 10: "Your totalitarian future (with Ronald Coase!)" (11:20-28:20 of this TERRIBLE quality recording) at Nowhere

Jul 8: "Sustainable cities" (TERRIBLE quality recording) at Nowhere

Jul 1: "David Zetland on Aguanomics, Water Scarcity, Water Wars and Toilet-to-Tap" at the Economic Rockstar podcast/blog

Jun 30: "Are water reuse and desalination systems a good option?" in BNAmericas [backup]

Jun 26: "Rational waste: The political-economy of desalination" (PDF slides and 20m MP3) at EAERE (Helsinki)

Jun 20: "Droogte in Nederland, boeren en tuinders in problemen (Drought in Netherlands, farmers and gardeners in trouble)" on EenVandaag [backup 140MB MP4]

Jun 17: "Managing water in Brazil's southeast" in BNAmericas [backup]

Jun 11: "California Court, Despite Drought, Questions Popular Water Pricing Tool" in Circle of Blue

Jun 3: "SoCal's Raging Water Agencies" in Voice of San Diego

May 30: "Ruling on water authority lawsuit near" [PDF] in the San Diego Union Tribune

May 21: "When worlds collide: Business meets bureaucracy in the water sector" (PDF slides and 30m MP3) at SELE, Groningen

Apr 29: "Pricing water for fiscal and environmental sustainability" (PDF slides and 21m MP3) at SWAN, London

Apr 28: "I see what you're doing: information, gender and cooperation" (PDF slides and 57m MP3) at Reading University

Apr 28: "Dorstige amandel is zondebok" ("Thirsty almond is scapegoat") in Trouw [backup]

Apr 20: "Groves & Fishes" in Comstock's

Apr 19: "Would an open water market improve things?" in The Bakersfield Californian

Apr 9: "We need to change the way we manage water" on Deutsche Welle radio (5 min MP3)

Apr 9: "Amidst Drought, California Struggles to Find Solution to #SaveOurWater" in The Daily Signal

Apr 6: "How on earth are two of the most water-rich nations having H2O crises?" in Fortune

Apr 2: "The world's poor people have mobile phones. Why can't they get clean water and sanitation?" at the Medium blog

Apr 1: "Does California Need Rain, Rationing or Prices?" at Newsweek

Mar 21: "What can YOU do about California's drought?" (18 min MP3) on KPFA

Mar 18: "What should California do?" (6 min MP3) on KCBS

Mar 11: "Are Canadians managing their water well?" (6 min MP3) on CKTB (Onterio, Canada)

Mar 6: "Water markets, economics and politics" (PDF slides and 55m MP3) for Water Markets Seminar at Leiden U-CDH

Mar 6: "Outrage boils over as B.C. government plans to sell groundwater for $2.25 per million litres" in The Province

Mar 3: "Fish, Out of Water" in Comstock's [backup]

Mar 2: "David Zetland on Water" (1 hour) on EconTalk

Mar 2: "Politics, Bureaucracy and the Firm: Principal-Agent Dynamics" (PDF slides and 1h 19m MP3 -- missing first 20 min after break) for Global Challenges: Prosperity students at LUC

Feb 25: "Baltimore sewers: time bombs buried under the streets" (me for 5 seconds; 2 min clip here) on Marketplace

Feb 24: "Variations and climate change: the policies and pipes of adaptation" (PDF slides and 1h 1m MP4) for AWRA

Feb 19: "Hot topics: Q&A with regulators" (PPS and 1h 24m MP3) for ERRA (Evaluations PDF)

Feb 18: "Fiscally and environmentally sustainable tariff designs from across the world" (PDF slides and 1h 35m MP3) for ERRA

Feb 10: "Farms and Rivers: Balancing between Food Production and the Environment" (PDF slides and 1h 2m MP4) for AWRA

Feb 9: "Markets bring prosperity (usually)" (PDF slides and 1h 40m MP3) for Global Challenges: Prosperity students at LUC

Feb 5: "Counting gallons: How much water do you use?" on Marketplace

Jan 8: "Water Conservation" (7.5 min) and "Water Shortage" (6 min) on Oklahoma Horizon TV (filmed in Nov 2013!)

Jan 7: "Russia's economic failures and geopolitical risks" (PDF slides and 40 min MP3) at Evolucio, LUC


Dec 3: "Talking about the End of Abundance with students" (72 min Video or MP3) at Indiana University, Bloomington

Nov 22: "Are the Water Wars Coming?" (13 min) on the David Pakman Show

Oct 6: "Hey, America: It's time to talk about the price of water" at Ensia [backup]

Sep 14: "Alarm as almond farms consume California's water" in The Guardian [pdf backup]

Sep 5: "How to Slake California's Thirst" at Reason [backup]

Aug 20: "California Drought Has Wild Salmon Competing With Almonds For Water" on NPR [backup]

Aug 20: "The Emergence of Wastewater as a New Supply" (57 min MP4 or MP3 and PDF) for the AWRA

Aug 17: "David Zetland on the drought" (54 min mp3) on the Bob Zadek Show

Aug 6: "Pricing Drinking Water for Conservation & Fiscal Stability" (75 min MP4 or MP3 and PDF) for the AWRA

Aug 4: "Municipal water systems are vulnerable" (2 min) at Marketplace

Jul 7: Three video chats with Paul Wyrwoll on drought in the Western US (separate videos and MP3s)

Jun 19: Four video chats with Paul Wyrwoll on Living with Water Scarcity (separate videos and MP3s)

May 15: "Squaring the circle: Saving money and water (energy?) in Riyadh" (PDF slides and 66 min MP3) at KAPSARC

Apr 29: "It's official. California has unleashed water patrols to curb wasteful residents" at Topix

Apr 29: "The economics of water" (42 min) at the Water Values podcast

Apr 22: "Full cost pricing as a path to full service provision" (PDF slides and 63 min MP3) at CAWST, Calgary

Apr 1: "California's continuing drought" (4 min MP3) at KCBS

Mar 25: "Overcoming barriers and meeting the challenges of tomorrow" for the water sector (54 min panel Q&A MP3) at Leading Change Canada in Vancouver

Mar 12: "Living with Water Scarcity -- Options for California" (PDF slides and 65 min MP3) at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment

Mar 12: "Drink Up: S.F. Water Customers Are Incentivized to Waste" at SF Weekly [backup]

Feb 19: "Day of reckoning for the parched Southwest: technology and conservation won't be enough" at Remapping Debate [backup PDF]

Feb 15: "History shows California subject to extreme droughts " in the Long Beach Press Telegram [backup PDF]

Feb 13: "North State water supplies under pressure as drought parches California" in the Chico News and Review [backup]

Feb 12: "Drought, poverty and water wars -- Q & A" (2h 28m MP3) at SDSU

Feb 6: "California's water crisis is beyond a reasonable drought" in the Sacramento News and Review [backup]

Feb 4: "Living with Water Scarcity" (PDF slides and 1h 18m MP3) at the Fraser Institute

Jan 30: "The Economics of Fisheries" (48 min YouTube or MP3) at SFU

Jan 14: "How do you measure the cost of a toxic spill that turns off the tap?" (1:23 MP3) on Marketplace redio

Jan 13: "What does water scarcity mean to Canadians?" (30 min MP3) on CJSF radio

Jan 10: "On California's drought declaration" (4 min MP3) on KCBS radio


Nov 6: "Does the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers need more economists?" (PDF slides and 28 min MP3) at AWRA, Portland

Nov 5: "Tradition versus dogma: water metering in England and Wales" (PDF slides and 33 min MP3) at AWRA, Portland

Nov 2: "Auctions to address issues in Oklahoma" (4 min YouTube) on OSU's SunUpTV

Oct 25: "All-in-Auctions demonstration" (45 min video; 72 min MP3) at the Natural Resource Ecology and Management Seminar, OSU

Oct 24: "Real world fails on water, pollution and the economy" (PDF slides and 74 min MP3) at the Environmental and Resource Economics Seminar, OSU

Oct 23: "The end of abundance... and the start of something new?" (PDF slides and 48 min MP3) at the Oklahoma Governor's Water Conference [pdf]

Sep 12: "Desalination: Why Not" (9 min video) at The Water Channel

Aug 5: "Tar Sands Oil Boom Drives Push for A Northern Pipeline" in Yale360

Jul 19: "Regulation is meant to keep water resources sustainable" [pdf] in BNAmericas

Jul 18: "Regulation top priority in Brazil's waterworks PPPs, says water economist" in BNAmericas [backup]

Jun 25: "Comments and critiques" (PDF slides and streaming video for slides -- at 67.5 min -- and panel discussion -- me at 31 min) at Underground Intelligence: Managing Canada's Groundwater

Jun 19: "Water and the Economy" (PDF slides and 18 min MP3) at GIZ's Eschborn Dialogue on Development

Jun 12: "The manager's dilemma: pricing water..." (PDF slides and 40 min MP3) at ERRA water regulation workshop, Budapest (PDF of evaluations)

Jun 6: "Tools and methods for mitigating corruption" (PDF slides and 10 min MP3) at the Water Intergrity Forum, Delft

May 17: "Water scarcity: could pricing and trading solve over-exploitation?" in The Guardian

May 3: "Non-revenue water and national performance" (PDF slides and 25 min MP3) at 3GF, Copenhagen

Apr 24: "The End of Abundance 2.0" (YouTube, PDF slides and 12 min MP3) at Mediamatic, Amsterdam

Apr 18: "The End of Abundance 2.0" (PDF slides and 50 min MP3) at WUR

Mar 26: "From regulatory games to customer service" (PDF slides and 30 min MP3) at SEAMS Roundtable [pdf] in Amsterdam

Mar 21: "Groundwater governance: from theory to failure" (PDF slides and 15 min MP3) at a UNESCO groundwater governance conference in Den Haag

Feb 18: "Farmers agree to tax those who deplete groundwater" in High Country News

Jan 29: "Land grabs, water and politics" (33 min YouTube) for National Critics Choice of Singapore


Nov 26: "EU Water Efficiency: Accounting, Allocating, Using, Recovering costs" (1hr 19m panel discussion) at EU water blueprint conference, Cyprus

Nov 21: "The End of Abundance" (115 min MP3) at the ABC bookstore in Amsterdam

Nov 14: "Water policies for people" (8 min YouTube) for Marginal Revolution University [MP3 backup]

Nov 14: "Untangling the price, cost and value of water" (PDF slides and 15 min MP3 plus 21 min MP3 panel discussion) for the Environment Agency (London)

Oct 25: "Concerns raised over desalination plant" in North County Times

Oct 19: "Finding the right price for water" [pdf] in Environment for Europeans

Sep 22: "Climate change on" (45 min MP3, start at 14:45) [MP3 backup]

Jul 20: "Water is not a political game. Tariffs should aim at full-cost recovery" [pdf]

Jun 2: "Recycling sewage to drinking water could save city of San Diego money" in North County Times

May 30: "Water policy for the people" (14 min YouTube) at TEDx Wageningen

May 25: "Threat to water policy if used for 'political gain'" in Irish Times

May 22: "Finding the Right Price for Water" [pdf] in Environment for Europeans, DG Environment [PDF backup]

May 6: "What about Fracking?" (60 min MP3) on Wisconsin Public Radio

Apr 20: "David Zetland is Brash, Outspoken and Unapologetic... and He's Usually Right" at ProJourno

Apr 18: "How to Fix U.S. Water Policy? Less Government, More Market Pricing" in CEI blog

Mar 17: "Does the World Water Forum Need More Conflict?" in Oikos International blog

Mar 14: "A view on water economics in Europe -- and why we shouldn't measure efficiency" (PDF slides and 59 min MP3) at the 6th World Water Forum, Marseille

Mar 8: "Doubts raised over UN drinking water claim" in New Scientist blog

Feb 4: "TEoA on" (60 min MP3) [MP3 backup]

Feb 1: "TEoA at the Commonwealth Club" (60 min streaming audio) in San Francisco [MP3 backup]


Dec 9: "Sharing trans-boundary rivers (wrt China, in particular)" (4.5 min MP3 at 8:18) on BBC1

Nov 11: "Water Auctions and Participatory Water Management" in The Nexus blog

Nov 9: "At Issue with Ben Merens on End of Abundance" at Wisconsin Public Radio (60 min streaming) [backup]

Nov 8: "Can Milwaukee become the Silicon Valley of water?" at WBEZ Chicago (6:40 streaming plus transcript) [backup]

Oct 5: "Water prices, desalination and shortage in San Diego" at the Surfrider Foundation (87 min video) [backup mp4 video]

Oct 5: "Raise prices to save water in San Diego" (10 min MP3) on [right wing crazy] KOGO radio

Oct 2: "Modesto Irrigation District weighs selling water to SF" in The Modesto Bee

Sep 28: "Agricultural Flows and Water Markets" (50 min video) on the Water Channel

Sep 13: "AB 134 Boils State Wastewater Market" in Cal Watchdog blog

Aug 29: "Brownback Urges Reforms to Preserve Ogallala Aquifer" in The Heartlander

Jul 20: "Unsustainable groundwater management" (30 min MP3, via telephone) to members of the National Ground Water Association

Jul 12: "Remaking the Water Market" on Benzinga Radio (19 min MP3) [MP3 backup]

May 23: "The drought is over, but water prices escalate" in The Press-Enterprise

May 21: "Transparency paramount in government" in Contra Costa Times

Apr 19: "On water and human rights" (8 min MP3) for ARD of Germany

Jan 28: "How well are politicians and regulators managing water supplies?" for 2Degrees Network (PDF slides and 60 min MP3 audio)


Dec 8: "Footprints or mis-steps?" (11 min webinar) at the Business and Water Conference

Nov 29: "Water Footprinting to Deal With Demand for Supplies" in International Herald Tribune

Nov 24: "David Zetland, author of The End of Abundance" (5 min YouTube) by the Pulitzer Center, Washington DC

Nov 19: "China searches for best medicine for ailing scientific journals" in Canadian Medical Association Journal

Nov 12: "Brown's Job Got Twice as Hard" in Cal Watchdog blog

Oct 27: "The Political Economy of Water" (60 min video) at the Council for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC [M4V backup]

Oct 16: "Should we privatize water?" on Radio Free Markets (47 min streaming) [MP3 backup]

Oct 3: "Dam study: Safety vs. water needs" in Long Beach Press Telegram

Sep 3: "California Board Recommends Reducing River Water Diversion" in Environment & Climate News

Aug 13: "Kill your lawn" in Sacramento News & Review

Jun 21: "Another economic dip coming?" in Cal Watchdog blog

May 31: "Green-job future a fraud" in Cal Watchdog blog

Mar 16: "Water supply increases for Contra Costa; drought restrictions likely to end" in Contra Costa Times

Mar: "Water Wars, War of the Well, and Guerilla Well-fare" [pdf] in Groundwater News and Views

Mar: "Our fruits and vegetables at risk?" [French] in Magazine Jobboom

NB: I did not say that no money has been spent on levees since 1970; they spent $90 million on Jones in 2003!

Jan: "Talking with David Zetland about California's water shortage" in hoboagogo blog


Nov 4: "Comments on California water legislation" (4 min MP3) at KCBS

Oct 15: "Personal, Communal, and Political Dimensions of Sustainability: A Conversation with David Zetland" (60 min MP3) at Rhodes College, Memphis

Oct 2: "Post-film Q & A" (56 min MP3), Cal State University , Fresno

Oct: "Interview with David Zetland" [pdf] in Rhodes College Sou'wester

Sep/Oct: "Dollars and Sense: How We Pay For Water" in Western Water

Sep 30: "Are we running dry?" in The Collegean

Sep 24: "Who has a spare $1m to prove that water can float?" in The National

Sep 23: "On-air Q&A" at KFCF (20 min MP3)

Sep 17: "Talking with David Zetland about California's water shortage" in The River News Herald

Jul/Aug: "It'd be easy to conserve water if it weren't so damn cheap" [$] in Mother Jones

Jul 15: "Raise prices" at KJZZ (1.5 min MP3)

Summer: "Running Dry" in Terrain

May 11: "Nation's largest desal project faces financing hurdles" in New York Times

Apr 20: "Raise prices" at KCBS (4 min MP3)

Apr 20: "As we use less, we could pay more for water" in SF Chronicle

Mar 31: "Is your water too cheap?" in Albuquerque Journal

Mar 2: "Panel discussion of California's Water Crisis" (60 min streaming) at KALW [backup]

Feb 8: "An Integrated Solution to Water Shortage" (PDF slides and 20 min MP3) at BIL

Feb 5: "Four Things You should Know about Water" (20 min YouTube part 1 part 2 Q&A) at BRAF

Jan 15: "Overview: A Year of Water" at Bloomberg on the Economy (26 min streaming) [backup]


Nov 20: "DWR warns of drought, water rationing in" in Capitol Weekly

Oct 1: "Ebb without Flow: Water May Be the New Oil in a Thirsty Global Economy" at Knowledge@Wharton

Sep 13: "Think Tank Solutions Run Dry in Our Valley" in the Modesto Bee

Jul 22: "Want Water? Pay the Price: An Interview With Aguanomics' David Zetland" in the BusinessPundit blog

Jul 2: "Paddy-whacked" in FreeExchange (The Economist)

NB: I've deleted 10 talks for which I have no archive copy. This list may not include all the talks I've posted on my blog.