Rebirth of Reason

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The market-based solution to California's water crisis
Posted by William Dwyer on 4/20, 10:05am

Here in California, Governor Brown has mandated cutbacks in water usage in response to a three-year drought, while ignoring the far more important causes of the shortage -- cheap, below-market water prices especially for politically favored groups.


Among the most favored are environmentalists who have forced the state to abandon critical water-storage reservoir projects to avoid disruption of wildlife and ecosystems. They also divert 4.4 million acre-feet of water every year to restore water runs such as the San Joaquin River, allowing passage of salmon and other fish. Without paying a dime, environmentalists have taken control of nearly half of California's water.


Of the remainder, 80 percent goes to farmers, the next most favored group — even though their output is only 2 percent of the state's GDP.

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