Steven Greenhut on a Market Solution to the California Water Shortage

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"Waterworld"

As California's drought enters its fourth year, policy makers here mostly argue over two alternatives – stepping up conservation and water-use enforcement or building new dams and other water-storage facilities. But the solution to the water crisis is more likely to be found on an application that can be downloaded onto our cellphones. A growing state can't assure abundant water supplies by fining businesses and residents who use too much water — any more than it can expect new reservoirs to do much to bolster supplies in the near future given the many years it takes to build (and fill) them. However, it's been shown, writes Steven Greenhut, that making it easier for water owners and users to buy and sell their water supplies and water rights will assure that water will flow to its highest and best uses.

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  1. Well this is a mercifully short policy brief.

  2. Comets. Lots of comets. For a fee.

  3. Build nuclear plants along the coast to power desalinization plants? They may not have noticed but there is a big ocean like right there.

  4. any more than it can expect new reservoirs to do much to bolster supplies in the near future given the many years it takes to build (and fill) them.

    I never cease to be amazed by people who wave off long-term solutions because they are long-term. To me, that’s not a reason to not do it, its a reason to get started on it right fucking now.

    Remember when the usual suspects were opposed to opening up federal lands to oil exploration and production because it would take five years for that to hit the market, and gas prices were high RIGHT NOW! Well, that was five years ago. If we had done it five years ago, that oil would be hitting the market right about now, and oil and gas prices would have an even lower floor.

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