Advertisement

Water Market Reforms for Water Resource Problems: Invisible Hands or Domination in Disguise?

  • Norm Coontz

Abstract

Many neoclassical economists account for water resource scarcity and related problems as a distortion of economic processes by political institutions, which, they claim, allow and encourage individuals to exercise arbitrary and capricious power. Arguing that competitive water markets can replace and thereby neutralize existing structures and distributions of power, these economists promote politically oriented policy prescriptions to reform water rights. It follows that neoclassical theory, which claims to explain the origins and development of political and economic interests, must account for the political support and opposition found for its own reform proposals. Neoclassical theory does not, however, account for the current experience in California with water right reform proposals. A case study of the development of private property rights to Kings River water demonstrates that, contrary to neoclassical theory, water rights institutionalize relations of power; preserving proprietary relations of power may supersede other economic interests in development when power is challenged.

Keywords

Flood Control Irrigation District Neoclassical Economist Neoclassical Theory King County 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adams, F., 1929. Irrigation Districts of California. Bulletin No. 21, California Department of Public Works, Division of Engineering and Irrigation, Sacramento, CA.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, T. L. (Ed.), 1983. Water Rights: Scarce Resource Allocation, the Bureaucracy, and the Environment. Ballinger Publishing Company, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  3. Assembly Office of Research, 1982. A Marketing Approach to Water Allocation. California State Assembly, Sacramento, CA.Google Scholar
  4. Assembly Office of Research, 1985. Water Trading: Free Market Benefits for Exporters and Importers. California State Assembly, Sacramento, CA.Google Scholar
  5. Barnes, H., 1918. Use of Water from Kings River. Bulletin No. 7, California State Department of Engineering.Google Scholar
  6. California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 1986. Buying and Selling Water in California. Santa Monica, CA.Google Scholar
  7. Conkling, H. and Kaupke, C. L., 1923. Kings River Investigation. Bulletin No. 2, California Department of Public Works, Division of Water Rights.Google Scholar
  8. Coontz, N. D., 1990. Organizations and Institutions: Agricultural Drainage-Related Water Management in the Kings River Region. San Joaquin Valley Drainage Program.Google Scholar
  9. Graff, T., 1986. Reflections on Water, Aqueduct, 4, pp. 2–3.Google Scholar
  10. Kaupke, C. L., 1957. Forty Years on Kings River. Hume Publishing and Lithography Company, Fresno, CA., pp. 1917–1957.Google Scholar
  11. Kings River Water Association, 1972. Kings River Agreements and Pine Flat Contracts.Google Scholar
  12. Kings River Water Association, 1987. Watermaster Report for the Year 1985–86.Google Scholar
  13. Maass, A. and Anderson, R. L., 1978. And the Desert Shall Rejoice: Conflict, Growth, and Justice in Arid Environments. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  14. Morrison, W., 1988. The Alta Empire. Alta Irrigation District, Dinuba, CA.Google Scholar
  15. Preston, W. L. 1981. Vanishing Landscapes: Land and Life in the Tulare Basin. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  16. Smith, A., 1937. The Wealth of Nations. Random House, Inc., New York, NY.Google Scholar
  17. Smith, Z. A., 1984. Centralized Decisionmaking in the Administration of Groundwater Rights: The Experience of Arizona, California, and New Mexico and Suggestions for the Future, Natural Resources Journal, 24(3) pp. 641–688.Google Scholar
  18. Tielman, I. and Shafer, W. H., 1943. The Historical Story of Irrigation in Fresno and Kings Counties in Central California. Williams and Son, Fresno, CA.Google Scholar
  19. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 1930. Report to the Federal Power Commission on the Storag Resources of the South and Middle Forks of Kings River, California. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  20. Weber, M., 1968. Economy and Society. Bedminster Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norm Coontz
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.U.S. Bureau of ReclamationUSA
  2. 2.San Joaquin Valley Drainage ProgramUSA

Personalised recommendations