Public Funding Programs for Environmental Water Acquisitions: Origins, Purposes, and Revenue Sources
Environmental Law, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2012
48 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2011 Last revised: 5 Jun 2015
Existing water uses in the western United States often leave too little water for healthy ecosystems in rivers, lakes, and wetlands. One policy tool for addressing this problem is buying and leasing water rights for conversion to environmental use. This article reviews public funding programs for such acquisitions, examining why and how government entities have provided money for obtaining environmental water supplies. The article does not address implementation of these programs, focusing instead on their origins, purposes, legal and institutional structures, and revenue sources. It briefly explains the rationale for both environmental water acquisitions and public funding for them, then states a couple of important caveats about the role of these measures in securing water for the environment. The main body of the article describes several different public funding programs, focusing primarily on ones that do not rely on annual legislative appropriations to finance acquisitions. The conclusion offers brief analysis and comments regarding the origins, purposes, and revenues of publically funded environmental water acquisition programs.
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