USGS photo of dry Colorado River
Conceptual diagram of a water conservation trading scheme.
Courtesy Standford University | Patricia Gonzales

Cap and trade meets wet and wild

The Clean Air Act of 1990 introduced the U.S. to emissions trading, a concept based on a government-defined “allowance” of pollution that companies could then manage through actions ranging from implementation of conservation measures to purchasing the unused portion of another company’s quota.

Now commonly known as a “cap-and-trade” regulation strategy, Stanford researchers have been looking into applying the system to regional water conservation in the San Francisco Bay area.
USGS photo of dry Colorado River
Overview of groundwater case studies.
Courtesy Environmental Defense Fund
Managing Groundwater Sustainably
It takes a village — as well as time, resources, and commitment — to manage groundwater effectively, advise the authors of an extensive new report on strategies for sustainable water management. The January 2018 report provides case studies and comparisons of groundwater management strategies developed in communities across seven states in the western U.S.

Each case study begins with tables showing the groundwater challenges facing the case study area, the area’s predominate water uses, management tools (regulatory, incentive-based, agency-based, education and outreach); and key lessons of the study. Detailed case study narratives close with extensive reference lists.
USGS photo of dry Colorado River
The Colorado River runs dry on the U.S./Mexico border 2 miles below the Morelos Dam.
Pete McBride,
All ecosystem features great and small:
the case for ecological drought planning
Until recently, most academic discussions of water scarcity pointed to measuring four types of drought: meteorological, hydrological, agricultural, and socioeconomic.

A fifth category of drought risks to people and nature is now gaining more of researchers’ attention: ecological drought. A newly published study of drought plans affecting seven Montana watersheds looks into how the plans did — or didn’t — assess ecological impacts of drought, and identifies actions that can lead to more comprehensive planning for mitigation of ecological drought.
The Drought Risk Management Resource Center conducts and applies research to improve drought resilience across the United States. It is a partnership between the National Integrated Drought Information System and the National Drought Mitigation Center, based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. NIDIS supports the DRMRC through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sectoral Applications Research Program.
USGS photo of dry Colorado River
USGS photo of dry Colorado River
USGS photo of dry Colorado River
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USGS photo of dry Colorado River
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