We investigate theoretically the irreversibile energy transfer in flat bottom shallow water waves. Starting from the oldest weakly nonlinear dispersive wave model in shallow water, i.e. the original quadratic Boussinesq equations, and by developing a statistical theory (kinetic equation) of the aforementioned equations, we show that the four-wave resonant interactions are naturally part of the shallow water wave dynamics. These interactions are responsible for a constant flux of energy in the wave spectrum, i.e. an energy cascade towards high wavenumbers, leading to a power law in the wave spectrum of the form of k−3/4. The nonlinear time scale of the interaction is found to be of the order of (h/a)4 wave periods, with a the wave amplitude and h the water depth. We also compare the kinetic equation arising from the Boussinesq equations with the arbitrary-depth Hasselmann equation and show that, in the limit of shallow water, the two equations coincide. It is found that in the narrow band case, both in one-dimensional propagation and in the weakly two-dimensional case, there is no irreversible energy transfer because the coupling coefficient in the kinetic equation turns out to be identically zero on the resonant manifold.