Water rights holders in the Okanogan, Methow, Walla Walla, and Yakima River basins are invited to participate in a 30-minute online water market game created by WSU! This game will help you become familiar with water markets, and you will receive $100-$200 for participating. Meanwhile, WSU researchers can better understand people’s connection to their land and water.

If you are a water rights holder or know someone in these basins who is, please reach out to Suhina Deol at suhina.deol@wsu.edu or (636) 688-9596 to access the game online or at an in-person location.

How do I participate?

  1. If you received a recruitment letter, we have verified you are a water rights holder in one of the basins listed above. Provide either your email or phone number in the self-addressed stamped envelope and Suhina Deol will reach out to you to access the game online or at an in-person location.
  2. If you have not been contacted but would like to participate, contact Suhina Deol at suhina.deol@wsu.edu or (636) 688-9596.

How do I receive payment for participating?

Once you complete the game, you will receive $100-$200 in the form of a gift card. You can select your gift card from a variety of stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, or Amazon.

WSU Water Market Research

This game is part of WSU’s ongoing water market research under Technology for Trade, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and led by the State of Washington Water Research Center, which focuses on developing new technology and practices that could provide better information to guide decisions about water – and ultimately, make more water available for people, fish and river flows.

In Spring 2021, Washington irrigators shared their thoughts in a Water Management survey . Responses to the survey showed that familiarity with water markets is relatively low and potential for computer-aided markets may be substantial. Overall, only one third of respondents said they were “comfortable” or “very comfortable” with buying, leasing, or selling water. Many people who had participated in a transaction reported facing challenges like regulatory hurdles and finding a willing partner to transact the water with.

Other insights from the 2021 Water Management Survey:

  • Irrigators have complex, and sometimes conflicting views about whether water should be treated as a private property right or a public resource. This likely reflects the inherent reality of water. The State of Washington holds water as a natural resource in trust for its residents, the public. A water right is authorization for an individual or entity to use water in a prescribed manner, and this right to use the water is privately held.
  • Understanding the value of a water right is difficult. Knowing the prices at which others have transacted water could help with this and encourage participation in water markets. However, there are a variety of views across eastern Washington about whether this should be required. When asked if they would support state-mandated price disclosure for water market transactions (like real estate transactions require), 60% of respondents said they would vote yes in a hypothetical county referendum mandating price disclosure. Support was higher in Methow (89% yes) and Walla Walla (65% yes). In Yakima, 60% said they would vote yes, but only a minority supported it in Okanogan (36% yes).

Questions/More information

Contact Suhina Deol at suhina.deol@wsu.edu or by cell at (636) 688-9596.



State of Washington Water Research Center

School of Economic Sciences

Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources

Washington State University – Pullman



Joseph Cook

Suhina Deol

Jonathan Yoder

Michael Brady

Georgine Yorgey