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9780804753807

Owens Valley Revisited : A Reassessment of the West's First Great Water Transfer

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780804753807

  • ISBN10:

    0804753806

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-07-02
  • Publisher: Stanford Economics & Finance

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Summary

In the contemporary West, pressures to more effectively reallocate water to meet growing urban and environmental demands are increasing as environmental awareness grows and climate change threatens existing water supplies. The legacy of Owens Valley raises concerns about how reallocation can occur. Although it took place over seventy years ago, the water transfer from Owens Valley to Los Angeles still plays an important role in perceptions of how water markets work. The memory of Owens Valley transfer is one of theft and environmental destruction at the hands of Los Angeles. In reassessing the infamous transfer, one could say that there was no "theft." Owens Valley landowners fared well in their land and water sales, earning more than if they had stayed in agriculture. In another sense, however, "theft" did occur. The water was not literally stolen, but there was a sharp imbalance in gains from the tradewith most of the benefits going to Los Angeles. Owens Valley, then, demonstrates the importance of distributional issues in water trades when the stakes are large. Los Angeles water rights in the Owens Valley and Mono Basin have again been a front-page issue since 1970. New environmental and recreational values and air pollution concerns have ushered in demands to curtail the shipment of water from source regions for urban use. Owen's Valley Revisited: A Reassesment of the West's First Great Water Transfer carefully explores how these sagas were addressed, considering the costs involved, and alternative approaches that might have resulted in more rapid and less contentious remedies. This analysis offers insights to guide the ongoing conversation about water politics and the future thereof. .

Author Biography

Gary D. Libecap is Donald Bren Professor of Corporate Environmental Management, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and Economics Department, University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Libecap is a Research Fellow and Associate at the Hoover Institution, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the Property and Environment Research Center. He previously was Anheuser-Busch Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, Economics, and Law and Director of the Karl Eller Center of the Eller College of Mangement at the University of Arizona.

Table of Contents

A reexamination of Owens Valley and western waterp. 1
The Owens Valley syndromep. 12
The history of the Owens Valley-to-Los Angeles water and land exchangep. 29
The bargaining costs of land and water rights exchanges in Owens Valleyp. 66
The gains of exchange and the origin of the notion of "theft"p. 99
Water rights and water reallocation in Owens Valley, 1935-2006p. 115
Water rights and water reallocation in the Mono Basin, 1935-2006p. 132
The costs of judicial reallocation of water rights and the public trust doctrinep. 145
Concluding thoughts about Owens Valley and western waterp. 154
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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