The American West is defined first and foremost by aridity, scarcity, and variability of water resources. In response to this geographic imperative, the region has evolved a robust menu of legal, institutional, and community-based approaches to managing water and conflicts at local, state, and national levels. While far from perfect, this framework may offer lessons to other regions throughout the world that are increasingly faced with water conflicts due to scarcity and variability of water resources. The resulting menu of approaches reflects an adaptive, collaborative, and nested system of governing water resources.

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