How much is water worth in the US ?
This NYT story shows the similarity between Australia’s water problems and those of the Western US. There as here, rights originally allocated to irrigators for little or nothing are being bought back at substantially higher values.
The San Diego district will pay market prices for the water, or about $258 per acre-foot at the outset. The farmers typically pay only delivery fees for their water, which amount to $15 or $20 per acre-foot.
If my arithmetic is correct, the market price quoted here is about $A300/ML while the farm delivery price is around $A20/ML. An acre-foot (enough to put a foot of water on an acre of land) is about 1.2 ML (a megalitre enough to put 10cm of water on a hectare of land) and in purchasing-power-parity terms, an Australian dollar is worth about $US0.70 which, coincidentally, is close to the current market exchange rate.