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Unpublished Paper
Integrated Eastern states water management: borrowing from the Coastal Zone Management Act
ExpressO (2011)
  • Robert H Abrams

More robust planning and management is needed to confront new patterns of water use and increasingly extreme and less predictable variations in water availability. Items such as water allocation law, an incomplete array of water management objectives, and the comparatively rigid operating rules for water facilities, that in the past had barely mattered, are now much more important. Neither the water law of most Eastern states nor the existing water institutions are adequate to the needs of a less stable, and possibly shorter, water supply. The failure of adaptation has the potential to cause serious economic and environmental harm if water is not better managed, and the most essential uses of water given priority in times of shortage. This Article considers whether a new water governance regime offers a realistic possibility for improving water management in the Eastern United States in what is likely to become an era of far more commonplace shortages of water. The proposed governance model has two principal legal elements and one operational aspect. Legally the model relies on (1) adoption of a comprehensive permit system that is known as “regulated riparianism” as the underlying state water law (2) enhanced by a federal statute similar to the Coastal Zone Management Act that coordinates both federal and state water allocation activities to be consistent with the states’ adopted and federally approved water plans. Operationally, the model incorporates multiparty use of computer simulations modeling a full array of basin-wide benefits as a key element in determining facilities operation.

  • water law,
  • water rights,
  • water management,
  • riparainism,
  • regulated riparianism,
  • coastal zone management act,
  • water wars,
  • water allocation
Publication Date
August 30, 2011
Citation Information
Robert H Abrams. "Integrated Eastern states water management: borrowing from the Coastal Zone Management Act" ExpressO (2011)
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