Water Resources Allocation and Agriculture: Transitioning from Open to Regulated Access
The book brings together a range of leading scholars and practitioners to compile an international account of water allocation policies supporting a transition to sustainable water use in regions where agriculture is the dominant water use. In Section 1, the collection canvasses five key cross-cutting issues shaping the challenge of sustainable water allocation policy, such as legal and economic perspectives, the role of politics, the setting of environmental flows, and the importance of indigenous rights. Section 2 presents 13 national, state and transboundary case studies of water allocation policy, covering cases from Europe, the Americas, Central Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific region. These case studies highlight novel and innovative elements of water allocation regimes, which respond to the cross-cutting issues addressed in Section 1, as well as local challenges and social and environmental imperatives. The book provides a comprehensive account of water allocation in a range of international settings and provides a reference point for practitioners and scholars worldwide wishing to draw on the latest advances on how to design and implement sustainable water allocation systems.
ISBN: 9781789062779 (print)
ISBN: 9781789062786 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781789062793 (ePUB)
Katrina Running, 2022. "Idaho's Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer: cooperative water policy change for Idaho's groundwater farmers", Water Resources Allocation and Agriculture: Transitioning from Open to Regulated Access, Josselin Rouillard, Christina Babbitt, Edward Challies, Jean-Daniel Rinaudo
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In 2015, the state of Idaho finalized a cooperative five-year agreement between ground- and surface-water farmers in Idaho's Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPA). The agreement, which was the result of multi-decadal legal, regulatory, and policy disputes, stipulated a reduction in groundwater withdrawals for the purpose of replenishing the overdrawn aquifer. The state was constrained by its legacy water allocation doctrine called prior appropriation - a framework for water law informally referred to as ‘first-in-time, first-in-right' that prioritizes seniority when water rights are contested - becoming particularly fraught with the social-ecological balance shift over time due to in-migration, multi-year drought, and more, leading to a mismatch between supply and demand. The two primary components of the five-year water reduction agreement used a tiered system of usage reductions from 4-20%, with an average of about 13% per groundwater farmer. The requirement also required all farmers to put in water meters on all irrigable land at their own expense. These activities were administered by managers in the eight groundwater districts impacted by the agreement and were reacted to by individual farmers with everything from reluctant acceptance to threats of lawsuits. Impact-wise, our research found farmers' net yields and farm income decreased by around 8% during the first two years of the agreement, but also that by 2020, when the agreement ended, the state’s aquifer level measurements actually surpassed the initial goal of adding 2 million acre-feet (∼2.47 trillion m3) to the aquifer by about 200 000 acre-feet (∼246 696 000 m3).