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How the market can keep the scream flowing

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This is a river This is a stream This is a river This is happening all over the country There are tens of thousands of miles of these water streams in the united states On this map The color area is represent the water conflicts Similar problems are merging in the east as well The reasons vary state to state but mostly in the details There are 4000 miles of the water streams in Montana alone They wouldn't narrowly support fish and other wild life They are the veins of the eco-system And they are often empty veins I want to tell you the story of just one of these streams Because it's an arc-type for the larger story This is Prickly Pear Creek It runs through a populated area from East Helena to Lake Helena It supports wild fish includes cutthroat,brown and rainbow trout nearly every year for more than a hundred years it looks like this in the summer How did we get here well, it starts at the back of late 1800s when people started settling in places like Montana and sure there was a lot of water and there were many people but with more people showed up wiling water they focus was their first get little concerned and in 1865 Montana passed its first water law it basically said everybody near the stream can share the stream utterly a lot of people showed up and wanted to share the stream and the focus were their first got concerned enough to bring out their lawyers There were precedent setting suits in 1870 and 1872 both involving in Prickly Pear Creek And in 1921 the Montana Supreme Court Ruled in a case involving in Prickly Pear that the focus were their first had the first or "Senior Water Rights" the "Senior Water Rights" are key The problem is that all over the west now are looks like this Some of these creeks have claims for 5200 times more water than is actually in the stream and "Senior Water Rights" holders? if they don't use the water right they risk losing their water right along with the economic values that goes with it so they have no incentive to conserve so it's not just the number of the people the system itself creates the disincentive to conserve because you can lose your water right if you don't use it so after decades of lawsuits and 140 years of experience, we still have this it's a broken system There is disincentive to conserve Because if you don't use your water right, you can lose your water right And I'm sure you all know that it create significant conflicts between the agricultural and environmental communities OK, now I will change gears here Most of you will be happy to know that the rest of the presentation is free And some of you will be happy to know that it involves beer [LAUGHTER] There is another thing happening around the ountry which is the companies starting concerned about their water footprint They are concerning about secured and adquate supply water They are trying to be efficient with their water use And they are concerned about how their water use would affect their image of brand Well, it's a national roblem,then I'll tell you a story from Montana And, it involves beer I've actually known it takes about 5 pints of water to make a pint of beer If you include all the drin, it takes more than 100 pints of water to make 1 pint beer Now the brewers of Montana have already done a lot to reduce the water consumption But they still use millions of gallons of water I mean there is water IN beer So what can they do about this remaining water footprint They could have serious effects on the ecosystems These systems are really important to the Montana brewers and their customers After all, there is strong coalition between water and fishing And for some, there is strong coalition between fishing and beer! So the Montana brewers and customers are concerned and they are looking for some ways to address the problem so how can they address the remaining water footprint Remember Prickly Pear Up till now Business water stewardship has been limited to measuring and reducing And we suggest the next step, it is restore Remember Prickly Pear? It is a broken system, it has got disincentive to conserve, you should use your water right or lose your water right But we decide to connect these two worlds The world of companies with their water footprints and the world of the farmers with their senior water right on its prics In some states,senior water rights holders can leave their water in steam while legally protecting it from others and maintaining their water right. After all, it is their water right, nd they want to use that water right to help the fish grow in the stream, it is their right to do so But, they have no incentive to do so. So working with the local water trust we created an incentive to do so We pay them to leave their water in stream That's what is happening here This individual has made the choice and is closing this water diversion, leaving the water in the stream He doesn't lose the water right he just chooses to apply the right or some portion of it to the stream instead of the land Because he is the senior water right holder he can protect the water from other users of the stream he gets paid to leave the water in the stream This guy is measuring the water and just leaves it in the stream We then take the measured water we divide into thousands of gallons instruments Each has a serial number and a certificate And the brewers and others buy those certificates as a way to return water to the degraded eco-systems The brewers pay to restore water in the stream Provides a simply, expensive and measurable way to return water to their degraded eco-systems while giving farmers an economic choice and give businessman concerning about their water footprints an easy way to deal with them After 140 years of conflict and 100 years of dry streams the circumstance of litigation and regulation has not solved We put together the market-based willing buyer willing seller solution a solution that does not require litigation It's about giving focus concerns about their water footprint a real opportunity to put water where it is critically needed into these degraded ecosystems While at the same time providing farmers a meaningful economic choice about how their water is used This transaction creates allies not enemies connect people rather than dividing them and they provide needed economic support for broken communities And most importantly it's working we've turned more than 4 billion gallons of water to the degraded ecosystems We've connected senior water right holders with brewers of Montana with hotels and tea companies, with Hi Tech companies which use a lot of water in the southwest And when we make these connections we can and we do turn this into this Thank you very much

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 46 seconds
Year: 2011
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: Rob Harmon
Views: 83
Posted by: easonwang on May 9, 2011

With streams and rivers drying up because of over-usage, Rob Harmon has implemented an ingenious market mechanism to bring back the water. Farmers and beer companies find their fates intertwined in the intriguing century-old tale of Prickly Pear Creek.

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