What Should the ASCE Model Water Code Committee Do?

by Leonard Shabman, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Resources Planning and Management: Saving a Threatened Resource—In Search of Solutions


The ASCE, Water Planning and Management Division, Water Laws Committee effort to draft a model water code is motivated by the recognition of change and is intended to offer assistance to states who wish to reform their water law. One question is whether adequate attention has been paid to the transaction cost consideration in the committee's efforts. Although special legislative actions may be taken on specific water allocation concerns, water allocation law will typically emphasize one of three means of conflict resolution: judicial proceedings, administrative process or market exchange. In general, for states where water conflicts will remain limited, substantial reliance on judicial proceedings may be in order. In states where there are many competing water demands for limited supplies there will be much conflict and reliance on judicial proceedings would be quite costly. Water codes in these situations might be changed to facilitate administrative allocation of water, perhaps with market or quasi-market mechanisms being employed.

Subject Headings: Water policy | Hydrologic models | Standards and codes | Water conservation | Water use | Economic factors | Water resources | Motivation

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