Water Use Conflicts in the West: Implications of Reforming the Bureau of Reclamation's Water Supply Policies.
CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (U S CONGRESS) WASHINGTON DC
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Conflict among water users is part of the history of the American West. The conflicts have changed over the years but have not gone away. Environmentalists, who want water to be left in the rivers to preserve threatened species, are now competing with urban and agricultural users for the Wests limited water resources. Native American water rights, long ignored, are also receiving more attention. The federal government is a key player in western water. Through its Bureau of Reclamation, the government developed water supplies that literally made the desert bloom. Developing new sources of water - deciding where the next big water project should be built - has long been the focus of the Bureau of Reclamation. But good options for the large-scale projects are extremely limited, and the federal government now focuses more on the fair and efficient allocation and use of existing supplies. Policy changes that could lead to better use of water are being put in place in parts of California served by the Central Valley Project, the largest water supply project in the United States. Policy changes introduced in California could serve as models for changes throughout the West. In response to a request from the Ranking Minority Member of the House Committee on Resources, this study analyzes the policy tools slated for use in California, estimates the costs of those reforms to agriculture in the state, and discusses the implications of using those policy tools in the rest of the West.
- Agricultural Engineering
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Civil Engineering