The purpose of this interagency report prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is to explore strategies to improve water management by tracking, anticipating, and responding to climate change. This report describes the existing and still needed underpinning science crucial to addressing the many impacts of climate change on water resources management.Most of the 76 pages are devoted to the typical supply-side stuff, but here's the demand side:
water-demand management is largely a State and local responsibility; the Federal role is constrained by Congressional authorization. Demand-side management balances water demands with limited available supplies by having a more efficient allocation of existing supplies. Water that is saved reduces the need for costly infrastructure.Well said. I just wish that more than two percent of the report was concerned with demand-side strategies. Relying only on the supply side is like one hand clapping.
One adaptation strategy is to enhance mechanisms for market-based transfers of water among uses. Climate change and shifting patterns of demand may increase market pressures that today are moving water from one use to another. Increased use of voluntary water leasing, water banks, and water markets can increase the opportunity for water rights holders to shift water among users. Transfers can either be permanent by purchasing water rights or temporary by having contracts to purchase water during dry years. Markets and higher prices provide an incentive to adopt water conservation, particularly during periods of limited supply and drought.
Another strategy is to reduce overall water consumption through conservation and efficiency improvements. Municipal water utilities can encourage water conservation by individual metering and pricing.
Bottom Line: Water should be managed at the local level, and the Feds know it. Now let's get the locals to raise prices and improve markets!