Back in 1991, when MWD realized that expanding water supplies is nearly impossible in modern California politics, they switched from a strategy of cooperation with agriculture to a new strategy of market-based competition for limited supplies.

Today, the MWD still has an Imported Water Committee that talks about market purchases. However, this talk appears to be in name only. After watching a recent video, I do not get the impression that they are going out and talking to farmers who want to sell water. Nor do I see any lobbying for the state to cut the red tape around water transfers. They are just talking about conservation, like all the other committees.

Is MWD just a conservation agency at this point? How do local water districts bid on and advocate for market purchases in 2022? Is this done through MWD, or some other organization that takes on MWD's former role in supply expansion?

  • Water shortage is a matter concerning all people living in the area, why do you think it is a political issue?
    – r13
    Sep 21 at 3:28
  • There is another question on here about why farmers can't "sell" their water. It has to do with them being allocated it to farm not to arbitrage. Might be helpful to you. Sep 21 at 14:14
  • @Azor Right, I wrote that question. The answer outlines all the political and legal issues that one would expect an urban district to encounter when transferring water. So my question now is whether local urban districts deal with this on their own, or as a group. Sep 21 at 20:31
  • @r13 It's political because there are competing uses for the water, and the competition is not resolved through economics alone. For example, there are policies ensuring that people have affordable water for consumption and washing, and that farmers get below-market prices. Sep 21 at 20:38
  • @personal_cloud Sorry, I couldn't link the competition for living essentials to politics.
    – r13
    Sep 21 at 21:24


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