via JD, farmers in Australia are furious that the winning bid in a water auction came from a spa that caters to paying customers.
The spa bought 250ML of 1,200ML for sale. That water was part of 47,000ML (2.5%) of water saved in a government program to cap and pipe bores [PDF], a program half funded by landowners. ("Cap and pipe" means capping artesian wells and diverting their flow into piped systems.)
I have no sympathy for "outraged" farmers, since the water went to a buyer who paid more to put it to a valuable use (the spa's TOTAL economic impact is AUD40 million-plus), but I am curious to know who got the auction revenue. It seems that the government kept it to expand the conservation program.
I've no idea who bought the rest of the water...
Bottom Line: In a competitive market, farmers can rarely outbid urban/industrial buyers with higher values. They should not fear losing "all" the water, since cities cannot absorb the vast amounts on hand.