Since the days of the Wild West, rights to be able to water your land or your cattle have been nearly as valuable as gold. Now, as increasing development continues to strain Western water resources, one craft Colorado businessman has come up with a novel idea for brokering water — namely, by creating his own little government. According to the Denver Post, Robert Lembke has taken a one-acre patch of grass and thistle where there aren’t even any water or sanitation lines, and is using it to meet the legal requirements of a special district so he can buy and sell water rights just like a government. Some say Lembke’s is just a business masquerading as government, but others see it as an innovative approach to the deep problem of water rights.

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