paper water
 n.— «The entitlements, however, translate to only about 50,000 acre-feet of actual water deliveries. That’s because distribution from the system, which represents about 4.2 million acre-feet in entitlements, is based on availability. The difference between entitlements and actual water delivered is often referred to as “paper water.”» —“Enviromental groups oppose changes to Water Project” in L.A. Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California) Dec. 27, 2004. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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