<p>The movement to implement market-based approaches to allocating water is gaining ground across California and in other western states. Proponents argue that markets offer an efficient and cost-effective means of promoting conservation-those who need water would pay for it on the open market, while others would conserve rather than pay increased prices.<p>Rivers of Gold takes a new look at California's water-reallocation challenge. The author explains the concept of water markets and the economic theory undergirding them. He shows how some water markets have worked-and others have failed-and gives the reader the analytic tools necessary to understand why. The book:<ul> <li> provides an overview of water-supply issues in California <li> compares the situation in California with that of other western states <li> considers the different property rights regimes governing current use and their fit with water market institutions <li> explains how water markets would work and their benefits and drawbacks as an allocation mechanism <li> presents a series of case studies of water markets currently in effect in California <li> offers a list of principles for water market design</ul><p>Rivers of Gold offers a balanced understanding of both the role that markets can play in reallocating water and the limitations of the market mechanism. In the end, the author offers a comprehensive assessment of the institutional design features that any water market should incorporate if it is to reallocate water effectively, in California or in any other region where water is scarce.<p>Rivers of Gold is the first book to provide a detailed examination of water markets and the institutional design issues associated with them. It is the only book available that presents in-depth case studies of actual water-market transactions, and will be essential reading for water resource professionals and resource economists, as well as for students and scholars of environmental policy, environmental economics, and resource economics.
Preface: A Note on the Author's "Water Politics'?
Introduction: The Ghost of Owens Valley
Chapter 1. The Water-Reallocation Challenge in California and the West
Chapter 2. Why Markets Are the Institution of Choice for Water Reallocation
Chapter 3. Political, Legal, and Cultural Challenges to Water Markets
Chapter 4. Lessons from California's Experience with Short-term Water Markets
Chapter 5. Shotgun Wedding: The Imperial Irrigation District—Metropolitan Water District Water Conservation Agreement
Chapter 6. Timing Was Everything: The Palo Verde Irrigation District-Metropolitan Water District—Two-Year Test Land Fallowing
Chapter 7. Water Ranching: The Devil's Den Water District—Castaic Lake Water Agency Combined Land Purchase and Water Transfer
Chapter 8. Getting to a Market: Lessons and Design Recommendations
Appendix 1: After Twenty Years of Policy Effort in California: No Water Market
Appendix 2: Zero to Six Long-term Rural-to-Urban Water Transfers in California over Twenty Years
Appendix 3: Proposals for Market-based Reallocation: Evaluating Their Feasibility and Appropriateness
Appendix 4: Farmer Resistance to Long-term Rural-to-Urban Water Transfers: Two Examples and an Economic Interpretation