Press Releases

JMI Releases New Backgrounder on Wa⁠t⁠er Marke⁠t⁠s

By: Logan Padgett / 2024

Logan Padgett


Press Releases


April 24, 2024

Logan Elizabeth Padgett

JMI Releases New Backgrounder on Water Markets

Conflicts over water in the Sunshine State have become more regular, more intense, and more costly in recent years. 

In a new JMI Backgrounder, “Tapping Water Markets in Florida,” Sal Nuzzo, Executive Director of Consumers Defense and Senior Fellow at The James Madison Institute and Reed Watson, Director of the Hayek Center for the Business of Prosperity and Professor of Practice at Clemson University, make the case for water markets. 

Water markets, which allow competing users to trade water voluntarily, offer Florida the best hope of aligning economic growth, water conservation, and ecosystem health.

The new JMI study explains how water markets can help resolve Florida’s most pressing water issues. It also describes several policy reforms Florida’s lawmakers and regulators should consider if they hope to tap water markets in the future. 

“The beauty of water markets lies in their ability to encourage conservation without mandates. Water markets incentivize users to think creatively about how to use less and save more. By making relatively minor policy adjustments, we can harness the power of markets to secure a sustainable water future for the Sunshine State.” —Reed Watson, Director of the Hayek Center for the Business of Prosperity and Professor of Practice at Clemson University’s John E. Walker Department of Economics and former executive director at The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC).

“The most effective way to promote conservation of a scarce resource like water is to provide market-based incentives. With a use-it-or-lose-it approach, there is no reason for an individual or company to conserve. Incentives breed innovation, and that is what can ultimately address the challenges Florida faces in the area of water quantity and quality. Policymakers can and should take a hard look as this issue will not only impact us, but our grandchildren and beyond.” — Sal Nuzzo, Executive Director, Consumers Defense and Senior Fellow, The James Madison Institute

Click here to read “Tapping Water Markets in Florida.”


The James Madison Institute is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the ideals of limited government, economic freedom, federalism and individual liberty coupled with individual responsibility. The institute conducts research on such issues as criminal justice, health care, taxes and regulatory environments.