A Twenty-First Century US Water Policy

By Juliet Christian-Smith; Peter H. Gleick et al. | Go to book overview

2
LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
OF WATER MANAGEMENT

Juliet Christian-Smith and Lucy Allen


Introduction

At the turn of the twenty-first century, legal scholar Janet C. Neuman (2001) gave this assessment of the status of federal water policy in the United States:

Here it is, the year 2001, and we still do not have a coherent federal water policy,
in spite of repeated calls for action for more than half a century. Of course, hun-
dreds of federal laws and regulations govern a plethora of water related programs
and activities …. What is missing is a rational, consistent, comprehensive, and yet
concise federal policy …. Considering that water is widely recognized to be the
looming resource issue of this century, the lack of a clear and succinct federal policy
is troubling.

Today, a decade later, this assessment still rings true. Whereas several nations have reformed their approach to water management in the 21st century (e.g., Australia, India, Russia, and the European Union), the United States continues to use a complex legal and administrative framework, based on a wide diversity of federal laws, regulations, and historical court rulings, to distribute authority over water between federal, tribal, state, and local governments.

This framework has been built up over two centuries and is based on the US Constitution, federal and state legislation, judicial decisions, common law, and even international treaties. For instance, the federal government has the authority to develop and manage

-23-

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A Twenty-First Century US Water Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • List of Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction- the Soft Path for Water xv
  • 1 - The Water of the United States 3
  • 2 - Legal and Institutional Framework of Water Management 23
  • 3 - Water and Environmental Justice 52
  • 4 - Tribes and Water 90
  • 5 - Water Quality 109
  • 6 - Protecting Freshwater Ecosystems 142
  • 7 - Municipal Water Use 167
  • 8 - Water and Agriculture 195
  • 9 - Water and Energy 221
  • 10 - Water and Climate 244
  • 11 - United States International Water Policy 263
  • 12 - Conclusions and Recommendations 288
  • Appendix - Key Pieces of Federal Legislation 305
  • Notes 313
  • About the Authors 317
  • Index 319
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