Water for Western ecosystems
Regarding the Opinion page article "Let Markets Allocate Water - With Brakes," April 6: In the arid Western US, water is currently allocated by a system mired in the narrow viewpoints of the 19th century. Reform is desparately needed.
The author omits a major factor left out of those 19th-century calculations, and still missing from his reformist worldview. The potentially significant costs to third parties from market-driven reallocations completely ignores the requirements of the supporting ecosystems of the West. The systems that support wild plant and animal inhabitants need water just as much as the human inhabitants.
All humans are at risk when we ignore the needs of the ecosystems. Yet ecosystems don't have bank accounts which make them competitive in the water market the author advocates. Forrest Hesselbarth, Grangeville, Idaho
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