Climate Change and Allocation Institutions in the Colorado River Basin
Water Policy and Planning in a Variable and Changing Climate 289 (2016)
Posted: 31 Dec 2014 Last revised: 5 May 2017
Date Written: June 6, 2016
Climate change has profound implications for allocation institutions in the Colorado River Basin. After providing an overview of current and projected hydrological conditions within the basin, this chapter analyzes salient issues posed by climate change for the Colorado River Compact, Upper Colorado River Basin Compact, Supreme Court decree in Arizona v. California, and water rights held by American Indian tribes. Apparent from the analysis are two overarching policy and management priorities: (1) a compelling need for clarity regarding the specific boundaries of water use entitlements established by the allocation institutions, and (2) an associated need for parties holding these entitlements to foster measures and commitments aimed at facilitating levels of water use that realistically align with their respective water budgets.
Keywords: water law, water policy, water allocation, climate change, Colorado River Basin, interstate compacts, Colorado River Compact, Upper Colorado River Basin Compact, Arizona v. California, American Indians, tribal water rights
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