Methods/Materials. This abstract proposes to survey innovative and creative legal and policy incentives across various Western states that may lead to greater conservation in agricultural irrigation, without reducing economic viability in agricultural communities. The paper will be written from a legal practitioner's perspective, with a goal to create a resource that is useful for the Western US, but also translates to other economies facing similar challenges.
Results and Discussion. This paper will undertake survey of legal efforts, from both a statutory and rule making perspective, to outline existing and planned mitigation and adaptation strategies for agricultural irrigation. The paper will look to water planning efforts, agricultural innovations in various arid states, statutes and rulemaking that have a tendency to force technological change, and successes in adaptive agricultural that is responsive to both increased drought and increased regulation. It will also review unsuccessful efforts to decrease agricultural water consumption but support agricultural economies.
Once the survey is completed, the paper will identify common threads that occur in different states. This summary will reflect successful efforts, and identify political and cultural barriers to implementing innovative water conservation measures. Another goal will be to identify and promote legal efforts that provide the greatest percentage rate in reducing agricultural water consumption. If a 10% conservation rate can be achieved for 80% of all water use, that is a more productive outcome than a 50% conservation rate for municipal use, which makes up 10% or less of the total water use.
Conclusion. Without significant mitigation and adaptation strategies, including legal incentives, to conserve agricultural water and maintain agricultural economic viability, there will be signification economic disruptions in the arid Western United States. More knowledge of workable examples of solutions across the region will be helpful for multiple communities.
Walsh, J., D. Wuebbles, K. Hayhoe, J. Kossin, K. Kunkel, G. Stephens, P. Thorne, R. Vose, M. Wehner, J. Willis, D. Anderson, V. Kharin, T. Knutson, F. Landerer, T. Lenton, J. Kennedy, and R. Somerville, 2014: Appendix 4: Frequently Asked Questions. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, J. M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, 790-820. doi:10.7930/J0G15XS3.