Federal Water Law and the 'Double Whammy': How the Bureau of Reclamation Can Help the West Adapt to Drought and Climate Change
37 Pages Posted: 1 May 2012 Last revised: 5 Jun 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2012
The water resources of the American West — especially the Southwest — are at risk from climate change, as an already arid region grows even drier, warmer, and prone to drought. The dual threat of drought and climate change is a particular challenge for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), which operates hundreds of federal water projects throughout the region. USBR has some authority to deal with these problems under the 2009 SECURE Water Act (for climate change) and the 1992 Drought Relief Act (for drought). This article considers USBR’s climate change and drought programs, examining both the authorities and the implementation. It concludes with recommendations on how USBR could better use the Drought Relief Act to help reduce the impacts of future water shortages.
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