Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy

Latest Episodes

Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
This Is Uncomfortable
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report

Farmers vs. cities in the war for water

Adriene Hill Apr 11, 2013
Share Now on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The drought has dried up water supplies in some parts of the country — and water wars are heating up, between farmers and other industries and cities. In New Mexico, farmers have kicked off what could be a long-running fight by making a “priority call” on water resources. 

What exactly does that mean? Put simply, water rights in the Western states are “first come, first served.”

“The idea is that the people who were using the water first, they get the first call on the water that there is,” explains Holly Doremus, an environmental law professor at UC Berkeley.

Making a “priority call” says I was here first and I want my water.

“It’s the mechanism to allocate water during times of shortage,” says Ronald Kaiser, a water rights expert at Texas A&M University. “There’s no share and share alike, there’s no reasonable use.  The allocation of water is based on first in time, first in right.”

There is a problem with these rules — they’re old. In lots of cases, they promise water to famers before cities. For that reason, Kaiser guesses they’re going to change.

“I think what’s going to happen is that the legislature will not let cities go dry,” he says, but he thinks it will be tension filled, politically and legally.

If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air.  But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.

Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.

When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.