Groundwater governance (making laws, policies, and regulations) in the United States is decentralized, resulting in considerable variations in practices across states. This article in Jurimetrics, written by Sharon B. Megdal and Jacob D. Petersen-Perlman, reports on two state-level surveys and three regional case studies conducted to better understand groundwater governance strategies and practices. The article also relates the results of three research efforts to food, energy, and climate. The analysis of this article points to the importance of identifying best practices for addressing nexus challenges for groundwater.
Groundwater Governance and Management
State-Level Groundwater Governance and Management in the U.S.
Groundwater is increasingly important for meeting water demand across the United States. Forward thinking governance and effective management are necessary for its sustainable use. The U.S. has state governments that are primarily reponsible for groundwater governance (i.e., making laws, policies, and regulations) and management (i.e., implementation of laws, policies, and regulations). This decentralized approach results in different strategies and practices. In Fall 2015 the Water Resources Research Center began the next phase of its "Groundwater Goverance in the U.S." project. A nationwide survey was developed in coordination with an advisory council from the Ground Water Research and Education Foundation (GWREF) and funded by a grant from the GWREF. The survey was administered to state-level officials who oversee groundwater quality programs in 2016 in order to identify on-the-ground practices that may help improve and enhance management of the nation's water supplies. The report was finalized in June 2017.
Decentralized Groundwater Governance and Water Nexus Implications in the United States
Groundwater Governance and Assessment in a Transboundary Setting
As groundwater reliance is increasing across the globe, including the United States-Mexico region, the complications of governing transboundary groundwater become more prominent. In their chapter of the new book Lake Governance, authors Sharon B. Megdal and Jacob D. Petersen-Perlman discuss groundwater governance and assessment, with a focus on the Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program (TAAP) along the U.S.-Mexico border. After providing an overview of groundwater governance in practice, the authors discuss commonly accepted principles for governing groundwater and recent developments in legal principles for transboundary groundwater governance. They explain how TAAP studies have been made possible by a cooperative framework agreed upon by American and Mexican partners through the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). The authors highlight the value of the TAAP framework for the Arizona-Sonora border region and suggest it could be applied elsewhere. Edited by Velma Grover and Gail Krantzberg, the book can be ordered at https://www.crcpress.com/Lake-Governance/Grover-Krantzberg/p/book/9781138633759. Please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the chapter. More information about the TAAP can be found at https://wrrc.arizona.edu/TAAP.
Addressing the Groundwater Governance Challenge
This chapter provides an overview and thus contributes to a better understanding of the world’s groundwater resources, their distinctiveness and their governance. It describes the principal elements of and key instruments employed in groundwater governance. To this end, the authors introduce several case studies from across the globe and offer some corresponding lessons learnt. In particular, this chapter presents an analysis of the role of monitoring and assessment in groundwater governance, showcasing the example of The Netherlands. A global diagnostic of the current state of groundwater governance is provided, based on information from a set of commissioned thematic papers and the outcomes of five subsequent regional consultations carried out within the framework of a GEF-supported project.
Modes And Approaches of Groundwater Governance: A Survey of Lessons Learned from Selected
The growing importance of groundwater as a critical component of water supply for agriculture, urban areas, industry, and ecosystems has increased the need to protect aquifers worldwide from overexploitation. Water governance is central to achieving this end. Thus, the article "Modes and Approaches of Groundwater Governance: A Survey of Lessons Learned from Selected Cases across the Globe", by Robert G. Varady, Adriana A. Zuniga-Teran, Andrea K. Gerlak, and Sharon B. Megdal from the University of Arizona, analyzes ten selected groundwater-governance case studies from diverse regions to identify characteristics of good governance practice. The cases selected varied across four elements - institutional setting, availability and access to information and science, robustness of civil society, and economic and regulatory framework. All four of these elements were found to have important impacts on governance by affecting incentives, conflict, power relations, effectiveness, and sustainability of process and outcomes. In sum, critical capacities of governments at multiple levels and civil society actors were found in the characteristics of shared governance. This article was published in a Special Issue of the journal Water with the title "Water Governance, Stakeholder Engagement, and Sustainable Water Resources Management," edited by the WRRC's Sharon B. Megdal and Susanna Eden and Eylon Shamir of the Hydrologic Research Center, San Diego, CA.
Innovative Approaches to Collaborative Groundwater Governance in the United States: Case Studies from Three High-Growth Regions in the Sun Belt
In several areas of the United States, groundwater reliance has created new challenges for sustainable management. This article, written by Sharon B. Megdal, Andrea K. Gerlak, Ling-Yee Huang, Nathaniel Delano, Robert G. Varady, and Jacob D. Petersen-Perlman, examines how regional groundwater users coordinate and collaborate to manage shared groundwater resources, including attention to what drives collaboration. To identify and illustrate these facets, this article examines three geographically diverse cases of groundwater governance and management from the United States Sun Belt: Orange County Water District in southern California; Prescott Active Management Area in north-central Arizona; and the Central Florida Water Initiative in central Florida. These regions have different surface water laws, groundwater allocation and management laws and regulations, demographics, economies, topographies, and climate. These cases were selected because the Sun Belt faces similar pressures on groundwater due to historical and projected population growth and limited availability of usable surface water supplies. Collectively, they demonstrate groundwater governance trends in the United States, and illustrate distinctive features of regional groundwater management strategies.
ISMAR9 Call to Action Sustainable Groundwater Management Policy Directives
August 2016 saw the release of a Call to Action developed during two working sessions at the International Association of Hydrogeologists International Symposium for Managed Aquifer Recharge in June 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico. A working group further refined the document in the following weeks. Designed for decision-makers and the public, the Call to Action is intended to inform, engage, and educate stakeholders on the critical need for addressing our shrinking groundwater resources now, before it is too late. The Call to Action is available in both English and Spanish.