How much is access to water worth? In this episode, we aim to answer that question by looking at the Kern Water Bank, one of California’s largest underground water storage facilities. From above, it looks a lot like a giant puddle. But underneath it has the capacity to hold the equivalent of roughly 500 of New York City’s Central Park Reservoirs. And, as one expert says, it’s the “absolute jewel” of California water banking.
Rural water users are panicking over a proposal to create a market for the sale and purchase of water rights in Nevada, unconvinced by arguments that the concept would encourage conservation. Lawmakers on Monday weighed whether so-called “water banking” would be preferable to prevailing water law doctrines that govern surface and groundwater rights disputes in the driest state in the U.S.
In the arid West, scarce water supplies are growing scarcer. Climate change is shrinking snowpack in river basins throughout the region, leaving the future water supplies for cities, industries and farmers uncertain.