Water rights west of the Mississippi are remarkably similar to the situation you described in…
Jack Pincus

Hard for me to know whether you know something important I have missed, or whether you’ve missed my point.

Check the links towards the end (Australian water experts invited to California to advise and share experiences about our water system), as well as the links I posted towards the top of the piece about Cali water rights. If you think they sound like Australian water rights, I’d encourage you to find out more about Australian water rights because …no, as far as I can tell, no, not very much at all. I you know something I do not know, by all means direct me to the information on the billions of dollars of water trades occurring in California that help risk-manage and shock-absorb water shortages the way that happens now in Australia. (The comparable info in Aust is pretty accessible, so I presume that the same must be true in Cali if what you note is correct.)

As for “the problem is that there is no water, not that there is an inefficient system” — I’m going to presume here you have missed my point. Of course the problem is a major reduction in available water. I don’t think I’ve said otherwise. The issue is that any given allocation system will respond to that lack of water with greater or lesser impacts. A superior system is one that can handle water variability without huge sacrifices in food production, as we have achieved (at least partially) in Australia.

As far as the evidence I’ve been able to gather shows, there is great scope to expand the reach of water pricing and trading in California compared to what you have now. Like I said, if I am wrong and there’s a thriving water market I have managed to overlook, please send me the public data, and I’ll write a follow-up piece.