What Price Water Marketing? California’s New Frontier

We can multiply the value of output from limited natural water supplies by allocating them to higher uses. To this end we need a market in raw water, but existing markets work badly, for several reasons. Sellers are undermotivated, absent taxes or debt. Free groundwater subverts the pricing of surface water. Loss of elevation, and damage from effluents, and in stream uses are not charged for. Obsolete subsidies abound; obsolete entitlements dominate allocation. Some trades extinguish public rights. Rent-seeking distorts allocation. Needed public agencies have been subverted by organized land speculators. Recommendations are given.
Am. J. of Ecs. and Soc. 56(4):475-520 (October, 1997)

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