Water Briefing Book
Climate change is altering the patterns of rainfall, snowfall and runoff, which creates challenges for existing water infrastructure developed with outdated assumptions. Population growth and demographic changes concentrate people in places that are often vulnerable to drought or flood, particularly impacting regions that produce food and energy. At the same time, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources rely on water, and if healthy environments are to persist, states must accommodate their needs through innovative policy solutions. These challenges combine to create a growing policy imperative to make best use of water resources and to ensure that future growth and development is water-efficient and takes into account natural resources needs. This briefing book addresses potential state legislative options to address water scarcity in one major area: water for people.
Briefing Book Contents
- Agriculture and Water Scarcity: As farmers increasingly draw from groundwater for crop irrigation, it is important to protect underground water stores, which take years to refill.
- Exempt Wells: Limiting the impact of exempt wells on stream flows and senior water rights is increasingly important because of burgeoning rural development.
- Human Right to Water: A human right to water is being increasingly recognized worldwide. In the US, California, Montana, Pennsylvania, and New York have recognized that right.
- State Water Plans: Many states have water plans, but few fully incorporate climate change and modern concepts of integrated water resources planning.
- Water District Planning and Efficiency Requirements: State law shapes how water districts plan for the future, and ultimately may require efficiency standards.