16 Aug 2008

Leasing but not to Fish

Read this research paper [PDF] to learn about farmers attitudes towards leasing or selling water -- and for what use.

Bottom Line: Farmers are willing to lease, not for long term, and NOT for environmental uses. Got that?


  1. I'm confused at what you mean here with that bottom line. Personally I think that is a rather useful study as it shows farmers are willing to enter into lease agreements which could be important in furthering water markets. There has been very limited study on leasing of water, except for Palo Verde and even the literature on that is limited. This study also highlights the potential for leasing and a focus on the South Platte basin - traditionally a basin that has not received enough discussion in Colorado (Except for Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District) unlike the Arkansas which has a large, long-term lease based market in the works, something the South Platte could use at least a good discussion about. Maybe this paper will be the catalyst for that necessary discussion, the authors have been playing a much larger role in policy these days.

  2. The farmers are HAPPY to sell to cities, but not to enviros. I think that they like the idea of water for people AND know that Nature can take app their water and more (whereas cities have a limit...)

  3. I think that the attitudes reflected in the study are typical of farmers in some, but not all, western communities. We've found that farmers in Oregon's Deschutes Basin are ready to lease water for environmental flows - we've leased up to 60 cfs in the Deschutes River and its tributaries annually over the last ten years. We have found that farmers are more accepting of permanent transfers to municipalities than to environmental uses though. Either way, our experiences suggest that you can successfully lease water for environmental uses (and at a low cost - 0 to 7 $/AF).


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