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Policies for a sustainable West

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Recommendation 4: Reform operations of engineered water infrastructure


Dams and other engineered water infrastructure have been managed with the primary goal of storing water and generating power — practices that often neglect the consequences for wildlife and ecosystems. Future federal water projects should discourage unbridled growth in arid metropolises; instead they should support practices that promote ecological health and encourage sustainable use of limited water resources.


To balance ecological and hydrological concerns with water storage and power generation by applying integrated management principles for engineered infrastructures such as dams.


Promote integrated management principles for dams and other engineered water infrastructure. These principles should balance environmental concerns with water and power needs. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) licensing and negotiation process for water projects provides an opportunity for implementing such an approach.