A recently launched water futures market in California drew global attention, from Wall Street to the United Nations. While news of the market has brought both skepticism and speculation, much of the coverage has failed to address some fundamental questions: what actually is a water futures market? How does it work, and who are the players? And most importantly, what are the potential benefits and risks? In this short piece, we explain the California water futures market in simple terms. We will explore its potential implications in a second blog soon.