California Water on the Market: Q&A with Barton “Buzz” Thompson
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California water has joined gold, energy and bitcoin as a commodity whose future value can be traded on a financial exchange and the first market trades on water futures took place three months ago. The market, based on values determined by NASDAQ’s Veles Water Market Index, was hailed by some as a useful tool so California farmers can reduce the risk of drought-driven escalation in water costs. It was sharply criticized by others, from a United Nations representative to racial justice groups as potentially limiting access to something essential to life. Buzz Thompson, a Stanford Law School professor and founding director of the Woods Institute for the Environment, discusses the implications of the commodification of California water.