2021-02-09 Colorado R. Profiteering, Rent Seeking

The Colorado River Basin has been in a drought for two decades and water rights are being eyed by investors as an investment. This, to me, is profiteering and rent seeking. There should be laws against private abuse of public resources. The law should require that owners of private land that has rights to water shall “use it or lose it”: if the resource is not used for the land then the resource cannot be sold. Here is one example.



<< On the other end of the access spectrum, profiteering is already muddying the waters. In early January, The New York Times reported that Wall Street investors have already begun eyeing water scarcity as a potential short- and long-term investment vehicle, a sentence as gross to type as it is to accept. Already, in Arizona, a fight is underway between financial investors and on-river communities, as a Phoenix-based investment group that bought 500 acres of farmland in 2013 and 2014 wants to leave 485 acres of that land dry and sell roughly 678 million gallons of its annual water entitlement to the well-to-do Phoenix suburb of Queen Creek for $21 million. The deal would require the approval of the federal Bureau of Reclamation and is opposed by local government leaders along the river, who believe such a sale would set a precedent for further financial investment in farmlands solely for the ability to profit off water rights—a method known as “buy-and-dry,” per The Arizona Republic. >>

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