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Despite impressive innovations by some states, western water laws and institutions now in place were designed chiefly for an earlier era and have not adapted to the new demands and stresses on water resources. In this book the authors explore the nature of water demands in the agricultural and municipal sectors and set forth prescriptions for the west to move away from its historical reliance on expensive supply-side projects and toward better management of existing supplies.
Six cases studies by experts in the field illustrate specific examples of water management issues. Taking as foci the Central Valley of California, the High Plains of Texas and the Upper Basin of the Colorado River, three of the case studies examine problems faced by the large urban areas of southern California; Tucson, Arizona and Denver, Colorado. A concluding chapter suggests practical policy options and politically feasible institutional changes for maximizing the efficiency of water use and minimizing the conflict associated with the reallocation of limited water supplies.
First published in 1988.