On June 15, 2014 at 07:14PM Tom at Watery Foundation published the following article:
One way to promote efficient water use in Florida could be to adapt to Florida the state of Georgia’s “Flint River Drought Protection Act.” That Georgia process sets up an auction during a drought to pay farmers to voluntarily suspend irrigation. In 2002, the Act paid $5.3 million to have 41,000 acres taken out of irrigation.
How could Florida use a similar process to construct a one-way water efficiency ratchet? Reduce the face amount of permit allocations by 2% a year for 20 years, while allowing water users to keep or expand their allocations by bidding in the growing pool of reduced allocations. In the first few years, there would be little auction activity because the face amount of most water permits far exceeds actual use. Eventually, however, water users who wanted to maintain their permit allocations would bid against others for the available water. It is important to note that permit holders would NOT be buying or selling water permits. Nonetheless, permit allocations and water withdrawal would decrease. Water withdrawals for economic purposes would tend to move toward uses that created the most economic value.
No tax dollars would be needed nor any additional restrictive water use regulations. The result, though, would be a one-way ratchet toward greater water use efficiency.