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A severe sustained drought in the Colorado River Basin would cause economic damages throughout the Basin. An integrated hydrologic-economic-institutional model introduced here shows that consumptive water users in headwaters states are particularly vulnerable to very large shortfalls and hence large damages because their rights are effectively junior to downstream users. Chronic shortfalls to consumptive users relying on diversions in excess of rights under the Colorado River Compact are also possible. Nonconsumptive water uses (for hydropower and recreation) are severely affected during the worst drought years as instream flows are reduced and reservoirs are depleted. Damages to these uses exceeds those to consumptive...
Researchers representing each of the Colorado River Basin states as well as the Secretary of the Interior were presented with an interactive computer simulation of a progressively increasing drought and were given the collective opportunity to change the ways in which basin-wide and within-state water management were conducted. The purpose of this ?gaming? exercise was to identify rules for managing the Colorado River which are effective in preventing drought-caused damages to basin water users. This water management game was conducted three times, varying the collective choice roles for management of the river yet staying substantially within the current institution for management of the Colorado River known as...
A wide variety of regional assessments of the water-related impacts of climatic change have been done over the past two decades, using different methods, approaches, climate models, and assumptions. As part of the Water Sector research for the National Assessment of the Implications of Climatic Variability and Change for the United States, several major summaries have been prepared, looking at the differences and similarities in results among regional research projects. Two such summaries are presented here, for the Colorado River Basin and the Sacramento River Basin. Both of these watersheds are vitally important to the social, economic, and ecological character of their regions; both are large snowmelt-driven...
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Dinosaur National Monument, in northwestern Colorado, has become a test case in the establishment of a federal reserved water right to instream flows. For the first time, the Interior Department was forced to rigorously defend its claims in a watershed where the federal government did not control the upstream reaches. Inadequate quantification of minimum flow requirements, court orders, and an apparent Congressional ban on the spending of Water Resources Program funds by the Park Service to quantify its water rights have already placed the Service in a difficult position to protect instream flows for maintaining the ecological integrity of the Monument. As late as 1983, administrators of the Park Service were divided...
In response to recent severe drought conditions throughout the state, Arizona recently developed its first drought plan. The Governor's Drought Task Force focused on limiting the economic and social impacts of future droughts through enhanced adaptation and mitigation efforts. The plan was designed to maximize the use of new, scientific breakthroughs in climate monitoring and prediction and in vulnerability assessment. The long term objective of the monitoring system is to allow for evaluation of conditions in multiple sectors and at multiple scales. Stakeholder engagement and decision support are key objectives in reducing Arizona's vulnerability in light of the potential for severe, sustained drought. The drivers...
Dissolved mineral salts (salinity) adversely affects numerous urban and agricultural users of Colorado River water in southwestern United States and in Mexico. More than a third of the salt load is thought to be induced by drainage from irrigated lands onto highly saline groundwater deposits in the Upper Colorado Basin in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Various public policy initiatives are proposed to induce farmers to reduce discharges of this nonpoint pollutant. Taxes on water, water conservation subsidies, and land and water rights purchases are analyzed in a linear programming framework. The allocative efficiency and the distribution of control costs and damages among irrigators, water users, and taxpayers are...
The arid Southwest of the United States is confronted with increasing water demands and a limited resource. Past efforts to meet water demand have been directed toward development of scarce water resources. While development programs have been successful in stretching available supply, few feasible development options remain. Furthermore, heavy water utilization has affected water quality within drainage basins. It seems likely that water management will play a much more significant role in water resource allocation in the future. This paper will examine water development activity in the Southwest to date. Attention will be given to several of the problems that have arisen. The paper will then examine water management...
Concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and other radiatively active trace gases have risen since the Industrial Revolution. Such atmospheric modifications can alter the global climate and hydrologic cycle, in turn affecting water resources. The clear physical and biological sensitivities of water resources to climate, the indication that climate change may be occurring, and the substantial social and economic dependencies on water resources have instigated considerable research activity in the area of potential water resource impacts. We discuss how the literature on climate change and water resources responds to three basic research needs: (1) a need for water managers to clearly describe the climatic and hydrologic...
This paper presents a summary of the findings and recommendations of the studies of severe, sustained drought reported in this special issue. The management facilities and institutions were found to be effective in protecting consumptive water users against drought, but much less effective in protecting nonconsumptive uses. Changes in intrastate water management were found to be effective in reducing the monetary value of damages, through reallocating shortages to low-valued uses, while only water banking and water marketing, among the possible interstate rule changes, were similarly effective. Players representing the basin states and the federal government in three gaming experiments were unable to agree upon...
ABSTRACT: The U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) restricts federal agencies from carrying out actions that jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species. The U.S. Supreme Court has emphasized that the language of the ESA and its amendments permits few exceptions to the requirement to give endangered species the highest priority. This paper estimates economic costs associated with one measure for increasing instream flows to meet critical habitat requirements of the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. Impacts are derived from an integrated regional model of the hydrology, economics, and institutions of the upper Rio Grande Basin in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. One proposal for providing...
ABSTRACT Nebraska is well endowed with water, particularly groundwater, but has few fossil fuel reserves. However, it is located adjacent to states which have almost no water but have enormous quantities of coal and oil shale. Recent court cases facilitate the movement of water from water-rich states such as Nebraska to water-short states, such as Colorado and Wyoming. The possibility of an energy-water partnership exists and raise numerous policy questions. Within Nebraska, energy consumption patterns are similar to those of the nation's, with consumption of electricity in the agricultural sector growing fastest. Water consumption in the state is dominated by agriculture, and future development of groundwater for...


    map background search result map search result map Dinosaur National Monument: The evolution of a federal reserved water right Dinosaur National Monument: The evolution of a federal reserved water right