WHAT IS A WATER MARKET?

Our most valuable resource has entered the domain of the economic market place.

A water market is another form of privatization that is basically about water sharing. It does this through an exchange system that moves the water to its most valuable use at any point in time. The market is meant to enable the fast and cost-efficient transfer of the resource and one of its objectives is conservation. Water markets are in theory supposed to be more effective than other systems such as water recycling and desalination. This all sounds innocuous enough but the the devil is in the detail and the way water markets play out in practice.

Probably a better explanation of water markets is that they involve the buying and selling of water rights for profit. This explanation hints at the way water is being commodified in the system. The door is therefore swung open with the potential for human rights and environmental abuses. This is already evident in the countries and regions where it is being currently implemented, such as Chile, Mexico, and California.

I will be exploring this important topic which is not as well known as other forms of water privatization over the next few posts.

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