One of the major questions facing the western U.S. is whether irrigation water can be conserved and reallocated to help meet increasing nonagricultural water demands. This book, based on interdisciplinary research in several states, identifies and analyzes the legal, political, economic, and social issues involved in a "conserve-and transfer" strategy. After providing an overview and policy framework for considering the role of conservation in water management, the authors use case studies to illustrate, for example, why water conservation is not a neutral policy or principle (demonstrating how other legitimate values can be adversely affected by a single-purpose pursuit of conservation); the various options available for conservation; how reallocation occurs in market transactions; and the legal restrictions on the sale of conserved surplus water.

Although formal market mechanisms are found to be rudimentary or lacking in most areas of the West, the authors contend that more proficient markets will evolve to measure the economic value of agricultural water. They conclude that a "conserve-and-transfer" strategy is selectively workable through the use of incentives, but that a number of tradeoffs, social concerns, and institutional constraints, which have not been adequately recognized to date, will have to be dealt with by policymakers if the strategy is to have wider application.

part Part One|8 pages

Thematic Overview of the Conserve-and-Transfer Strategy of Water Management

part Part Two|44 pages

Institutional Framework for Agricultural Water Conservation and Reallocation in the West: A Policy Analysis

chapter I|5 pages

Introduction and Context

chapter II|7 pages

Variety, Diversity, and Complexity

chapter III|17 pages

Opportunities for Water Conservation

chapter V|6 pages


part Part Three|54 pages

Factors Underlying Irrigation Efficiency in the Tulare Basin of California

part Part Four|29 pages

The Navajo Indian Irrigation Project: A Study of Legal, Political, and Cultural Conflict

part Part Five|53 pages

A Willingness to Play: Analysis of Water Resources Development in Arizona

chapter I|2 pages


chapter II|3 pages

Rules of the Game

chapter IV|11 pages

Political Background of the CAP

chapter V|8 pages

Water Economics on the Farm

chapter VII|5 pages


part Part Six|65 pages

Water Reallocation, Market Proficiency, and Conflicting Social Values

chapter II|16 pages

Market Proficiency

chapter IV|4 pages

Conflicting Values: Arizona

chapter V|3 pages

Conflicting Values: New Mexico

chapter VI|4 pages

Conflicting Values: Colorado

chapter VII|3 pages

Conflicting Values: Utah

chapter VIII|15 pages

Summary and Conclusions