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Water, Climate Change, and the Law: Integrated Eastern States Water Management Founded on a New Cooperative Federalism

May 2012

Citation: 42 ELR 10433

Issue: 5

Author: Robert Hakell Abrams

More robust planning and management is needed to confront new patterns of water use and increasingly extreme and less predictable climate-induced variations in water availability. Issues such as water allocation law, gaps in the array of water management objectives, and comparatively rigid and unresponsive operating rules for water  facilities are increasingly more significant. Neither the water law of most eastern states nor the existing water institutions are adequate to adapt to the challenges of less stable and potentially diminished water supply. A new water governance regime that builds upon regulated riparianism and the federalism structure of the Coastal Zone Management Act could offer several means for improving water management in the eastern United States as water shortages become more common.

Robert Haskell Abrams is Professor of Law, Florida A&M University, College of Law

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