Key Legal Issues in Western Water Management and Climate Adaptation
45Western water law and the institutional framework for water management control the distribution and use of western water. After presenting an overview of the law and institutions, key topics are explored. Climate change is affecting every aspect of the hydrologic cycle, and the future holds more extremes of drought, flooding, and warmer temperatures, imposed on already strained water resources. The critical questions are how well the existing management regime serves the vast population, economy, and environment of the contemporary West and the choices that the nation and region face in water management as climate change takes effect. This chapter covers a lot of ground, so this46 discussion is intended to provide a taste of critical questions and an incentive to explore these questions more thoroughly in the wealth of water literature.