Letters to the Editor: Needles’ well crisis shows we need to completely rethink water rights

 The Colorado River flows along the town of Needles.
The Colorado River flows along the Mojave Desert town of Needles, which faces a water crisis despite its river-adjacent location.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: It is time to reconsider distribution of water in the Western United States. The laws and titles governing ownership of water rights are anachronisms from a couple of centuries ago when this country, life in general and the population numbers were all quite different. (“One of America’s hottest cities is down to one water well. What happens if the taps go dry?” July 20)

If real property rights can be condemned for the good of the society, why can’t water rights? Each party “owning” the water can be compensated with a specific amount of nontransferable credit for future use. Every drop that is distributed to them is then deducted from that credit. Once the credit has been completely depleted, they would pay the going rate.

The time has come to get real about water and who is entitled to it. Water is as necessary as air to all people. No one should own either.


Jodi Clark, Bakersfield


To the editor: Billionaires are blasting into space, but in Needles, Calif., a $1.5-million water well seems beyond our Earthly means.

Will we ever get our priorities aligned with our necessities?

Ben Miles, Huntington Beach