It was attention-grabbing news last year: A big Kings County landowner sold $73 million in water rights to the Mojave Water Agency in Southern California as local agriculture struggled against drought.Neves is probably wrong. Dudley Ridge had no water until 1969, and it will have no water in a few years, if outside urban areas are able to buy it. It's purely a matter of willingness to pay versus value in use. Not even almonds produce as much value as showers and flushing toilets...
The Kings County grand jury thought it was controversial enough to investigate... The report went on to say that the Kings County Water Commission, which exists to advise supervisors, "failed to submit any written comments or to advise the Board of Supervisors to do so ... However, the grand jury concluded that "no actual breaking of California law was found."
County officials say Vidovich had the right to sell the water, which didn't belong to Kings County anyway, since it was imported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta under the auspices of the Department of Water Resources.
Dudley Ridge had no water prior to 1969, when it began taking deliveries from the California Aqueduct, Neves said.
The report raised concerns that other landowners could also sell their water, turning Dudley Ridge back to empty land. Neves shot that down, saying that water use has gotten so efficient that farming in Dudley Ridge - despite the high cost of Aqueduct water - will likely continue.
Bottom Line: When there's profit to be made, water will trade.