Outdated laws and lack of a water market in western United States, continues to cause problems and increases the chance for dire consequences.
Droughts continue to cause more damage to farmers and the regional economy. As the population rapidly increases in these already dry western states, the water laws must be reformed, at least for now, to allow for:
- Short-term leases of water.
- Basic market institutions.
- Risk-migration tools such as dry-year options.
- Basic controls such as regulating how much water can be pumped.
Opening up water markets will improve the efficiency of water supply and demand and provide water at the most appropriate price to everyone. Such a system will be better prepared for droughts and other consequences to the increasing water shortage in the west.