Is Wet Growth Smarter than Smart Growth?: The Fragmentation and Integration of Land Use and Water

27 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2007

See all articles by Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold

Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold

University of Louisville - Brandeis School of Law


The authority and regimes for controlling land use, water quality, and water use are highly fragmented, both internally and from one another. However, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that this fragmentation comes at great cost to natural and human environments, with increasing impacts of land use practices, water quality conditions, and water uses on one another. This article introduces a concept of wet growth that attempts to achieve some level of integration among these three inter-related aspects of law and public policy.

The Wet Growth concept is distinguished from the popular, yet vague, concepts of Smart Growth, which has failed to give sufficient attention to the water-related impacts of land development and use. The article describes examples of emerging efforts to achieve integration of land use and water regulatory policies. It summarizes the ideas and research of several leading scholars in a book on Wet Growth. The article makes a case for policy diversity in the integration of land and water practices, rejecting the desirability of any single model. Finally, it analyzes the role that local land use planning and regulation can play in achieving aquatically and ecologically sustainable land use practices.

Keywords: land use, zoning, regulation, permitting, planning, water law, water rights, water use, water consumption, water quality, water pollution, Clean Water Act, land development, growth, Smart Growth, sprawl, impervious cover, policy diversity, environmental regulation of land use

Suggested Citation

Arnold, Craig (Tony) Anthony, Is Wet Growth Smarter than Smart Growth?: The Fragmentation and Integration of Land Use and Water. Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 35, No. 3, p. 10152, 2005, Available at SSRN:

Craig (Tony) Anthony Arnold (Contact Author)

University of Louisville - Brandeis School of Law ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States
502-852-6388 (Phone)
502-852-0862 (Fax)


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