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Perspectives from the Field: A Review of Western Instream Flow Issues and Recommendations for a New Water Future

 

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Abstract

Water is the West’s most precious resource. Water management, water law, and water policy in the West are at a crossroads. A hard look at instream flow issues and a serious commitment to finding lasting water solutions are critical to the region’s future. This Article broadly summarizes several instream flow issues on a state specific and regional scale, and makes discrete recommendations for developing a new, more solutions-oriented approach to water problems in the West. The author offers four recommendations for charting a new course in water management, water law, and water policy in the West; building better relationships, viewing instream flow and regulatory certainty as mutually beneficial, promoting physical solutions, and taking bold action. The author concludes that a new water future for the West can be charted. But, it is entirely up to regional stakeholders to get busy now fostering public dialogue and decision making on the water issues in the West to find lasting solutions that manage water for the greatest good. 

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