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Policies for a sustainable West

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Recommendation 7: Offer states financial incentives to improve water quality and achieve a sustainable water supply

Problem

State agencies are typically responsible for managing water resources and implementing federal environmental regulations in the West. The federal government has not provided adequate support to states for improving water quality and maintaining sustainable supplies. An impasse confronts state agencies in the West because of their different and competing needs. Yet federal water projects and policies link states and necessitate cooperation. This situation calls for improved coordination and the explicit description of federal conservation goals.

Goal

To encourage state agencies to improve water quality and promote sustainable supplies through collaborative management, watershed planning, and federal conservation initiatives.

Recommendation

Provide financial incentives to state agencies for the purpose of achieving water sustainability and quality objectives as well as maintaining and improving existing infrastructure. These conditional federal investments should support activities such as integrated water management, conjunctive management, and land use / water supply planning at the state, watershed, and utility levels.