What is in this article?:
- Western Water Council considers water sharing recommendations
- Highlights of the recommendations
- The Western States Water Council - the water policy arm of the 18 Western Governors - this week will consider recommendations from diverse Western water leaders representing agricultural, environmental, and urban interests.
Highlights of the recommendations
- Design robust processes that give environmental, urban and environmental stakeholders opportunities to plan together early on, instead of one-sided “decide, announce, defend” processes that frequently result in opposition and polarization.
- Foster a flexible, watershed based approach that can lead to cross-jurisdictional sharing of infrastructure, cooperatively timed water deliveries, and strategies to facilitate real-time, on-the-ground, state-of-the-art water management for optimal benefit of cities, farms, and the environment.
- Break down legal, institutional, and other obstacles to water-sharing strategies by developing criteria and thresholds that protect agriculture, the environment and any third parties to water sharing transactions. And experiment with creative approaches such as “water resource sharing zones” that could be set up for trading of water, financial resources, and even locally grown food while encouraging interaction between agricultural, environmental, and urban neighbors.
- Expedite the permitting process when programs or projects have broad support of agricultural, urban, and environmental sectors.
- A governor-championed federal/state pilot review process should be established where a state liaison and a federal designate are appointed to co-facilitate concurrent agency review and permitting without repetitive, costly information exchanges. Permitting is important to protect environmental, economic, and social values, the group agreed, but cumbersome permitting processes often lasting years need an overhaul.
In coming months, group members will meet with environmental, agricultural, and urban groups throughout the Colorado River Basin and the West to encourage further dialogue.