Water markets and winning the lottery

Water markets and winning the lottery


As it is Blog Action Day regarding water…What is the “water lottery”? It’s a phrase I will use to describe the current system in which senior water licence holders are enriched by transferring a part or all of their water licence allocation to other water users in the South Saskatchewan River Basin. The process of winning the water lottery depends on having a ticket, i.e., a water licence in southern Alberta, and on the discretion of Alberta Environment to allow a transfer of that licence.
Where the transfer is allowed, it is often accompanied by payment of substantial sums of money. How much money? The information on transfers to date is limited and the amount of money changing hands is often viewed as a private contractual matter. For large amounts of water with senior licence priority it likely means millions in the pockets of the licence holder. The biggest lottery winners are those who can sell unused portions of their licenced water allocation and continue business as usual.
Read “Water markets and winning the lottery” on the ELC blog.


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