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Why transfer water? To start with the conclusions, the ability to transfer water to more valued uses is a critical part of the ideal responses to increased climate variability, as well as highly desirable under present conditions. But, institutional friction is very high, so the new Colorado experiment of the Arkansas River Water Bank Pilot Project (C.R.S. 37-80.5-103) is potentially important. Without institutional change, such as the "water bank", there is very limited ability for agricultural water rights owners to do anything but "use it or lose it". In the Western states, the majority of water consumption is in agriculture, and transfer from it is the alternative to "new water " developed by other means. New supply is decreasingly feasible, as remaining opportunities are increasingly expensive. There is a basic economic principle: there are gains to both willing sellers and willing buyers, and to the economy as an aggregate if resources are put to a higher-valued use. (See Easter et al

Year: 2009
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