Let the price mechanism decide how California uses water

Let the price mechanism decide how California uses water

A large part of California’s water problem has economic roots. Whenever there’s a shortage of anything — whether it’s water or seats at a baseball stadium — our first suspicion should be that the price is too low. …

The Imperial Valley, located in the southeastern part of the state, is geologically a desert. Nonetheless, its farmers grow large quantities of potatoes, cauliflower, sweet corn, broccoli and onions. These crops would not be produced without there being subsidized irrigation and other state and federal subsidies. I need someone to show me that there is such a desperate need for somewhere to grow potatoes, corn and other crops that we need to subsidize making a desert bloom.

Western water is mostly controlled by the U.S. Congress and its Bureau of Reclamation. Through lobbying efforts, the Bureau of Reclamation is controlled by growers and other special interests. Water is distributed in California and other Western states not by market prices but by the political process. …

California farmers argue that without federal and state government subsidies, crops could not be grown in desert areas. That’s a foolish, self-serving argument. If I were an Alaskan wanting to use government subsidies to build hothouses to grow navel oranges, I could use the same argument: Without government subsidies, I couldn’t grow navel oranges in Alaska. …

The bottom line for solving California’s water problem is that there needs to be a move toward a market-oriented method for the distribution of water. Government management has been a failure.

Continue reading →

For your convenience, you may leave commments below using either the Spot.IM commenting system or the Facebook commenting system. If Spot.IM is not appearing for you, please disable AdBlock to leave a comment.


Commenting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.