California Should Turn to Markets to Solve its Water Woes

Improved water markets, rather than political dictates, will reduce conflict while also freeing up water

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This article originally appeared in The Hill. Read the full piece here

After a brief reprieve, California once again is entering a drought. Having just climbed out of the state’s worst drought in centuries, this news is a sober reminder that reform is urgently needed to avoid endless water wars. Thanks to population growth and climate change, the problem is not going away any time soon.

At base, the challenge is that water is scarce in the state and has been wildly overpromised. According to a 2014 study by scientists at UC Davis and UC Merced, the state has allocated five times the amount of water available in an ordinary year. Consequently, the most senior water rights holders are protected (and rightly so), but everyone else’s taps regularly run dry. In 2015, a million acres of farmland were fallowed because of drought, and endangered species regulation and groundwater basins were seriously depleted to water much of the rest.

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Read the full article in The Hill here.

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