Financing Water Reform in the Western United States

Posted: 16 Jun 2013 Last revised: 15 Sep 2013

See all articles by Robert Glennon

Robert Glennon

University of Arizona - Rogers College of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

John Sabo

Arizona State University (ASU) - Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS)

Date Written: June 14, 2013

Abstract

Water scarcity threatens much of the American West yet farmers who use 70-80% of each state’s water, often use flood irrigation — the least efficient method — to water their crops (USGS 2011). Almost half of all the water used to irrigate western croplands is delivered by flood irrigation (USGS 2011). To make this point is not to blame farmers, who, after all, have operated this way for generations. Legal rules are fairly permissive when it comes to insisting that farmers use modern, technologically sophisticated irrigation technologies that cost huge sums of money to install (Glennon 2009). Instead, it’s to suggest that the non-farm sector has an enormous interest in financing the overhaul of agricultural irrigation practices in the West (Glennon 2009). In this article, we sketch a program for financing the reform of western water that would achieve greater sustainability of food systems as well as the freshwater ecosystems that depend on increasingly scarce supplies of freshwater in the western U.S.

Keywords: water scarcity, flood irrigation, irrigation practices, sustainability, freshwater ecosystems

Suggested Citation

Glennon, Robert and Sabo, John, Financing Water Reform in the Western United States (June 14, 2013). 4 Solutions Journal, 2014, Forthcoming; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 13-30; PERC Research Paper No. 13-5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2279729

Robert Glennon (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

John Sabo

Arizona State University (ASU) - Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) ( email )

Tempe, AZ
United States

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