Water Management by Endangered Species

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by George R. Baumli, State Water Contractors, Sacramento, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Management in the '90s: A Time for Innovation

Abstract: In California, water management decisions are being driven by endangered species considerations. Traditional project formulation and operational criteria seemingly are unimportant. The endangered species considerations exacerbate the impacts of consecutive years of drought and a stressed water infrastructure where water demands significantly exceed reliable water supplies. The result of endangered species constraints is less water at a higher cost for traditional water uses and delay in implementation of needed water projects. Amendment of the Endangered Species Act is urgently needed. In the meantime, water managers must work within the law and strive to achieve as much balance and reasonableness as possible. This paper describes how endangered species considerations have affected water management in California, presents examples of the resultant economic and social costs and describes problems with the Endangered Species Act and the need to amend it.

Subject Headings: Water shortage | Endangered species | Water supply systems | Water resources | Water quality | Water management | North America | California | United States

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