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Developing a More Holistic Approach to Water Management in the United States

April 2006

Citation: 36 ELR 10277

Issue: 4

Author: William L. Andreen

Editor's Summary: Unlike many other parts of the world, the United States enjoys abundant freshwater resources. And while efforts to protect these valuable resources have experienced some success, these efforts are not enough. One of the reasons for this deficiency in U.S. water management policy is the existence of various jurisdictional barriers. EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the states, and local governments all have different roles to play in relation to water rights, the protection of water-based ecosystems, and land use in the United States. In this Article, Prof. William Andreen argues that a better understanding of the relationship between land use and water, and an improved institutional ability to act on that understanding, is needed in order to truly improve our aquatic resources. He also presents several reforms that could be made within the existing legal structure to better integrate U.S. land and water policy.

William Andreen is the Edgar L. Clarkson Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law. Professor Andreen served as co-convenor of the international symposium, Sustainable Water Management: Comparative Perspectives From Australia, Europe, and the United States, held on September 14-16, 2005, in Canberra, Australia. At that time, he was serving as a Senior Fulbright Specialist in Law and Visiting Fellow at the National Europe Centre at the Australian National University. This Article is based on William L. Andreen, The Evolving Contours of Water Law in the United States: Bridging the Gap Between Water Rights, Land Use, and the Protection of the Aquatic Environment, 23 Envtl. & Plan. L.J. 5 (2006), and published with permission.

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