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Water Policy Vol 12 No 3 pp 305–317 © IWA Publishing 2010 doi:10.2166/wp.2009.152

Mandates vs markets: addressing over-allocation of Pacific Northwest River Basins

Richard A. Slaughtera, Alan F. Hamletb, Daniel Huppertc, Joel Hamiltond and Philip W. Moteb

aCorresponding author. JISAO/CSES/Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, 907 Harrison Blvd, Boise, ID 83702, USA. Fax: 208 345-9633. E-mail: richard@rsaboise.com
bJISAO/CSES Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, PO Box 355672, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
cSchool of Marine Affairs, University of Washington, 3707 Brooklyn NE, Seattle, WA 98105-6715, USA
dCollege of Agriculture, University of Idaho (Emeritus), 1102 Orchard, Moscow, ID 83843, USA
eNow at: Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, College of Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis OR 97331, USA


Water has always been the key element of human development, quality of life, and transportation in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). While seemingly abundant when irrigation was first developed in the 19th Century, today many PNW rivers are fully allocated, leading to conflict in times of drought, a situation which may be exacerbated by the effects of climate change. In the PNW, water is managed by an array of Federal, State, and non-governmental entities, each with its own perspective and mission. This paper discusses the relative merits of solutions based on supporting market mechanisms through improved definition of water rights on the one hand, and authoritative mandates on the other.

Keywords: Climate change; Drought; Hydroelectric; Mandate; Salmon; Water allocation; Water marketing; Water right

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