River-Basin Water Management in the U.S.: A Regulatory Anticommons

31 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2010 Last revised: 10 Feb 2012

See all articles by Lea-Rachel D. Kosnik

Lea-Rachel D. Kosnik

University of Missouri at Saint Louis - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 9, 2012

Abstract

Many demands are currently made on the United States’ limited water resources, including use for irrigation, recreation, hydropower, municipal use, and instream maintenance. This large set of demands poses a problem because supply is essentially stagnant. Looking forward, this situation of water resource scarcity is only projected to worsen as climate change effects and continued population growth are added to the mix. Given this acute state of affairs, I conduct an assessment of river-basin water regulation in the United States in the hopes of shedding light on whether the current approach is adequate to changing circumstances, or if reform is needed. Using small scale hydropower permitting as the context, this paper argues that reform is essential because river-basin water regulation in the United States today is subject to a decentralized and inefficient management style termed a “regulatory anticommons.” Solutions to the anticommons problem are suggested, including structural, organizational, and legislative-based regulatory reform.

Keywords: anticommons, water, oligopoly, energy, hydropower

JEL Classification: H1, K0, Q2

Suggested Citation

Kosnik, Lea-Rachel D., River-Basin Water Management in the U.S.: A Regulatory Anticommons (February 9, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1712075 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1712075

Lea-Rachel D. Kosnik (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Saint Louis - Department of Economics ( email )

8001 Natural Bridge Road
St Louis, MO 63121
United States
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