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Water Law and Economics Transfers of Water: A Reply

THIS is a reply to Dean Frank Trelease’s comment on a case study of western water law as applied to the Keweah River, California. That case study finds diseconomies in water allocation, and lays much of the blame to water law. Dean Trelease Ends this “very disturbing,” which reaction I, in turn, find a little puzzling, since he is himself no mean gadfly on the subject. Probably the answer is that there is a real issue between us: he leaning to the view that the appropriative doctrine is essentially sound, needing some repairs about the fringes; I to the view that many diseconomies are inherent in the core concept of prior appropriation. Such issues are hard to join cleanly, however, and all subtleties hard to pinpoint among the Dean’s conjectures and divagations. One must admire the errantry with which he charges onto unfamiliar ground, but I find myself hard to recognize in some of the dragons he smites there, a crew of such mixed ancestry that I believe the greatest contribution I might make to this discussion would be to line them up for individual inspection.
JFE 44(2):427-34, May 1962. (A debate with Dean Frank Trelease, Univ. of Wyo. School of Law, on H-3, supra.)

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