Idle calculations.

There is another permanent water transfer out of Dudley Ridge Water District.  From what I’ve seen reported, the sales are:

14,000 af of permanent water rights, from Sandridge Partners, to Mojave Water Agency, for $73M.

880 acres of land, including 1,700 af of water rights, from Jackson family, to Irvine Ranch, for $14.3M.

Two data points!  I can conclude things!

MWA transfer:

(14,000 af in the water right)/($73M) = $5,200 per acrefoot of right.  (This isn’t per acre-foot, remember.  This is for the right, which will have intermittent yields in perpetuity.)

Irvine Ranch transfer:

(1,700 af in the water right)/($14.3M) = $8,400 per acrefoot of water right.

Except that Irvine Ranch also bought the land.  Since the two transfers are from one SWP contract with Dudley Ridge, they’re equally reliable.  The conveyance costs are similar.  So I am going to say that the difference in price comes from the value of the land.

($5,200 per acre for just the water right)/($8,400 per acre for the water right and the land) = 0.62 .

I’m thinking that the water right accounts for 62% of the value of agricultural land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.  I heard some Australian guy say land prices drop 80% when the water is sold away from the land.  So those numbers are in the same ball park.

That ten percent decrease in annual runoff from climate change I see in the water models?  That’s a lot of money capitalized into land values.  You’d think people who owned big swaths of farmland would be leading the fight to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and prevent some of global warming.

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