November 13, 2019

Water Banking: A Distribution Solution

Cedar Q. Cosner

By the year 2060, 420 million people are projected to live in the United States, an increase of approximately 100 million from today. Stephanie Ewert, U.S. Population Trends: 2000 to 2060, U.S. Census, NCSL Fiscal Analysts Seminar (Oct. 15, 2015), As the population increases, the demand for water will increase accordingly. Water banking presents one option for certain states, particularly those in the arid West, to prevent the waste of water by removing the risk of forfeiture for unused quantities, thereby serving to maximize the use of limited water resources. By creating consolidated markets of unused water that third parties can lease for use at a fair market price, public water banking programs help distribute water that otherwise would go unused. This article discusses the various governance structures that have been used or attempted to implement water banking programs.

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