Thursday, April 14, 2016

Allocation of Colorado River water

The special issue of Western Legal History I've been surveying also includes Jason Robison's article on the allocation of Colorado River water within Southern California, "Colorado River Water in Southern California: Evolution of the Allocation Framework, 1922-2015", an earlier version of which I noted last year. From the conclusion:
A common trend is evident from the "lives" of each of these allocation institutions bearing on Southern California's use of the Colorado River. They have originated without an entirely clear (or at least fully shared) understanding of their meaning and intended operation. They nonetheless have governed water allocation and management and related infrastructural and capital investment decisions in and around the Colorado River Basin until various tipping points have been reached requiring their clarification or modification. They then have been subject to triage-like work generally involving large-scale concerted efforts by diverse federal and state entities (executive, judicial, and/or legislative) at both the interstate and intrastate levels. In a nutshell, when considered across the long arc of time, the persistence of these institutions within the history of western water law has had everything to do with the iterative and provisional manner in which they have been finessed.

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