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Water allocation—Why not free markets?

May 2, 2012

I recently attended another meeting that featured a panel of experts on the subject of allocating Arizona’s water supply. Each panelist reflected that tired notion that we just need to do better planning, which basically means having smart people tell other (presumably dumber) people what to do or not do. This is the solution of all who believe in central planning by government. It does not work anywhere else and it does not work very well for water either.

Isn’t it about time to try another method of allocation……the free market? We actually have no shortage of water in Arizona. What we have is not too little water but rather too much government. The web of subsidies and regulations of water use creates a false shortage. If we would just put all water, surface water and ground water, on the market and let the pricing mechanism determine water allocation, there would never be a need for another panel discussion like the one I attended this morning and there would be no shortages.

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