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…

A Call for Values-Based Water Administration

A film is only as good as the reasons for making it.  -David Mackenzie When I was in a fraternity (well, I still am in the fraternity, but you know what I mean) we were often told, nay commanded, to rush new freshmen into our organization through what the national-level suits called values-based recruitment. This…

The Problem with Water Markets

The historic drought in California has brought much welcome attention to the problems of water allocation in the American West. I can’t even count the number of articles explaining the “wasteful” water use by California’s almond and alfalfa farmers, or the ones laying out a better way forward. Two days ago, an international affairs fellow…

Water Transfers and the Future of the West: Tradeoffs

This is the third part in a series (Part 1, Part 2) sharing my year-long research into agriculture-to-municipal (AMI) water transfers from scientific, ethical and practical perspectives. In this section, I examine the justification (or lack thereof) for trading rural livelihoods for urban growth, and I argue for legal protections for rural areas of origin,…

Water Use is Like the Library

I happen to be writing from the Boulder Public Library today (they have excellent air conditioning and my house is hotter than the Mojave Desert). I’ve also been thinking about water management on a more basic level- what should be our guiding principle? This Reddit AMA and the general gist of argument by David Zetland…