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Adjudicating less water in the 21st century American West

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Abstract:

The adjudication of water rights in the American West is one of the most poorly understood yet vital state functions. Each state has its own system for this process which accounts for the number of water users, diversions, quantities of water, and their priorities in time (first use). Most adjudications are still on-going, not nearly complete, and are elaborate 1:1 mappings of a state’s water resources. But is this process flexible, adaptable enough, to adjust for real and anticipated effects of climate change? What happens when there is suddenly less water to adjudicate? Prior appropriation and shortage sharing arrangements are standard in the western states, and these seem geared to deal with less snow pack and less stream flow despite their very different outcomes and emphases. But the myth of stationary water, or even of a state accounting of water, is more problematic. Western states have spent small fortunes from their coffers to count water and waters that may not exist in the 21st century, especially in the semi-arid west. How will our water institutions shift their thinking in the Anthropocene?
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Association:
Name: ASEH Annual Conference
URL:
http://aseh.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1171218_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Perramond, Eric. "Adjudicating less water in the 21st century American West" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1171218_index.html>

APA Citation:

Perramond, E. P. "Adjudicating less water in the 21st century American West" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1171218_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: The adjudication of water rights in the American West is one of the most poorly understood yet vital state functions. Each state has its own system for this process which accounts for the number of water users, diversions, quantities of water, and their priorities in time (first use). Most adjudications are still on-going, not nearly complete, and are elaborate 1:1 mappings of a state’s water resources. But is this process flexible, adaptable enough, to adjust for real and anticipated effects of climate change? What happens when there is suddenly less water to adjudicate? Prior appropriation and shortage sharing arrangements are standard in the western states, and these seem geared to deal with less snow pack and less stream flow despite their very different outcomes and emphases. But the myth of stationary water, or even of a state accounting of water, is more problematic. Western states have spent small fortunes from their coffers to count water and waters that may not exist in the 21st century, especially in the semi-arid west. How will our water institutions shift their thinking in the Anthropocene?


 
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