In the Wall Street Journal, Gary Libecap and Robert Glennon discuss the West's outdated water laws. A policy overhaul, they argue, would allow efficient water markets and reward conservation.
In the early twentieth century, L.A. purchased water rights by buying up farmland and conveying the water back to L.A. These purchases created a legacy of distrust and suspicion, as people began to view the trades as theft. Gary Libecap takes a second look at the L.A.-Owens Valley transfers.
Terry Anderson, Gary Libecap
Where water markets are being allowed to work, prices reflect scarcity and trades provide incentives to conserve.