Secondary Market for Trading Water
Ventura-based Farmer Edgar Terry helped form the Fox Canyon Groundwater Market, where farmers can anonymously purchase and sell groundwater rights. Terry explains why this market is needed.
Terry…”Five years ago they instituted a different system called the irrigation allowance index, where your cap as to the amount of water you can use. And if you go over that cap, in essence, you pay a fine. Well that fine is $1,500 per acre foot. So consequently, it became very finite, the amount of water you could use. Well, if you're in a situation where you've got to finish off a crop to get it to market and you have no water left, you either pay a horrendous fine or disc up the crop. Well, the market allows a grower (to buy water on the market) . It's all voluntary - nobody's mandated to join this. So a grower who is a member of the market could go in and see if there's excess water to purchase to be able to finish off their crop, not get a fine. And (they can) stay within the cap amount that is determined by the local regulator.”
The marketplace launched this past year, but didn’t see much demand with the wetter weather patterns. The hardest part of putting this together according to Terry was getting all stakeholders to the table.