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How a Water Market Might Work

This will not be a perfect market. There will be only one seller, and the buyers will surely form a user’s association. But this should not deter us. No human institution is perfect, except some that are perfectly awful. The present water market is one of these, and the point is to make it less awful. Maximum feasible improvement is the goal. To achieve this, continous monitoring of both buyers and sellers by a sophisticated regulatory agency may be needed, although the proposed market is inherently self-regulating in the absence of malice and blundering. It is also simple, clean, and unambiguous in philosophy, so the needed oversight does not entail framing a regulatory concept, or even implementing one, but simply the double negative of preventing anyone from preventing the system from regulating itself.
Supplement to testimony presented to California Governor’s Commission on Water Rights Law Reform, (H-14, supra), 1977, pp. 1-4.

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