Can we move from conflict to cooperation
Christy, Don R.
MetadataShow full item record
Water resources management challenges continue to grow across the southeastern United States as a result of population growth, economic and industrial development, increasing energy demands, and continuing needs to provide water for production of food and fiber. Attempts to allocate resources to meet human and ecosystem needs as well as non-utilitarian values have been complicated by climatic events, water pollution, interstate disputes over transboundary resources, and intrastate conflicts among users for available supplies. Federal and state governments have implemented various programs and initiatives to address pending and developing challenges. Because multi-state (regional) approaches are not directly contemplated by the federalist system ascribing federal and state authority, such approaches have received less consideration towards resolving water resource management problems. This research employs a case study design to examine organizational structures and institutional arrangements associated with the Delaware River Basin Commission, Gulf of Mexico Program, and the Western States Water Council to explore the attributes of collective action structures, survey institutions and institutional arrangements primarily at collective choice and operational levels, and identify the types of functions and collaborative programs implemented. The case study results are supplemented by survey research to ascertain the views, opinions, and preferences of selected senior state environmental agency officials from across the region. Most notably, respondents were asked about the need for and benefit of a collaborative mechanism for regional surface water resources planning and coordination among regional states and potential impediments to establishing such mechanism. Based on case study evaluations, the study ascertained numerous characteristics of viable institutional arrangements for water resources management. Among those are a shared sense of resource conditions, threats and responsibility to address any threats (regional identity); a prior history of state officials working on environmental or natural resources challenges; advocates among state leaders; and the presence of external triggers. While support exists for adopting institutional arrangements for regional surface water planning and coordination, state leaders identified several potential impediments along with potential strategies to overcome some barriers.