1) Managing Great Lakes Water as a Common Pool Resource
I Tweeted this last week, but after reading the abstract and the first few chapters of Rachel N. Ford's MS thesis from Michigan State University I thought it was worth posting the entire tome. It is titled, Managing Great Lakes Water as a Common Pool Resource: Barriers to and Opportunities for Collective Action among Irrigators in Southwest Michigan.
In response to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, which protects the region against diversions of water outside of the Great Lakes- St. Lawrence River Basin, the State of Michigan has created a water use program to be implemented by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The program regulates large-quantity water withdrawals (LQWs) of greater than 100,000 gallons per day to prevent adverse resource impacts (ARIs), defined as reduction of the index flow in streams and subsequent decline of fish populations. The rivers and their corresponding watersheds in the state were segmented into over 5,000 catchment areas to be used as management units for the identification and mitigation of ARIs. An assessment process consisting of an online screening tool and a site-specific review uses data on aquifer yields, stream index flow, and fish population response to categorize each new or increased LQW according to the risk of ARI. Should an ARI be detected in a catchment, all registered and permitted large-quantity water appropriators potentially will be convened into a water user committee to create a management plan for reducing water use in the area. The dynamics of these negotiations are unknown. This research explores a case study of agricultural irrigators in Southwest Michigan for conditions that influence transaction costs of negotiating and monitoring rules of a water reduction management plan. The identification of these potential barriers and opportunities for collective action results in suggestions for the DEQ to reduce transaction costs and improve the efficacy of the water use program in Michigan.
A report to Congress from a bunch of good folks at the USGS.
Thanks to Jan Schoonmaker for sending this my way.
The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-11) was passed into law on March 30, 2009. Subtitle F, also known as the SECURE Water Act, calls for the establishment of a “national water availability and use assessment program” within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). A major driver for this recommendation was that national water availability and use have not been comprehensively assessed since 1978.
This report fulfills a requirement to report to Congress on progress in implementing the national water availability and use assessment program, also referred to as the National Water Census. The SECURE Water Act authorized $20 million for each of fiscal years (FY) 2009 through 2023 for assessment of national water availability and use. The first appropriation for this effort was $4 million in FY 2011, followed by an appropriation of $6 million in FY 2012.
The National Water Census synthesizes and reports information at the regional and national scales, with an emphasis on compiling and reporting the information in a way that is useful to states and others responsible for water management and natural-resource issues. The USGS works with Federal and non-Federal agencies, universities, and other organizations to ensure that the information can be aggregated with other types of water-availability and socioeconomic information, such as data on food and energy production. To maximize the utility of the information, the USGS coordinates the design and development of the effort through the Federal Advisory Committee on Water Information.
A National Water Census is a complex undertaking, particularly because there are major gaps in the information needed to conduct such an assessment. To maximize progress, the USGS engaged stakeholders in a discussion of priorities and leveraged existing studies and program activities to enhance efforts toward the development of a National Water Census.
“You can’t get to the end unless you start.” -- Craig Maxwell