Book Review: Water Is For Fighting Over

First of all- I’ve always had an outstanding complaint against the world’s headline writers. The water world, especially, is filled with headlines writing checks the content never intended to cash. A journalism grad student friend of mine once reminded me, sheepishly, that editors write headlines. I now see that the complaint extends to book editors…

And another thing…

Just briefly… I once asked “Does anyone actually want a spot market for water?” – meaning, if we allowed instant trading of water rights on some sort of exchange from the imagination of Paolo Bacigalupi, would anyone (especially, any city) actually use it? They rely on predictability and reliability of delivery of their water to…

If only we allowed water trading!

I’ve been feeling a quibbling, hair-splitting mood lately. Must be election gaffe season… Anyway, the excellent storyteller Abrahm Lustgarten (you may remember his long series for ProPublica on the Colorado River) has written a new piece for The Atlantic asking if we need “a free-market plan to save the American West from drought.” Lustgarten laments…

Predictability trumps efficiency

John Fleck has written a fascinating summary of his panel at the Colorado River Water Users Association conference in scenic Las Vegas. He mentions that California, Arizona and Nevada are working on a series of deals to reduce their use of Colorado River water at various elevations of Lake Mead, expanding on the provisions of…

Does anyone actually want a spot market for water?

This is going to be a short post simply to ask the above question. It’s obvious to me that policymakers, academics and commentators are in love with the idea of a spot market for water- in other words, an instantaneous market that connects buyers and sellers of water and puts the resource to its “highest…

Risk and Outrage on the Animas River

Outrage is directly correlated with what is visible and easy to understand, not what is actually outrageous. Case in point: the EPA accidentally released 1 million gallons of mine waste into the Animas River (while investigating how to stop mine drainage, no less), turning the river sludgy and bright orange. The response: HEADS MUST ROLL!…

Prior Appropriation is a Cap-and-Trade System

I didn’t set out to do this when I started this blog, or when I started my research into the future of water and society in the American West, but I seem to have brought upon myself a debate with the field of water economics. Water economists like market-derived solutions to our water problems, a…