Improving groundwater allocation and use in the western USA


Water use arrangements in the western United States have their roots in systems that evolved when water was abundant. As a result, the management of water scarcity is proving to be difficult.

Building upon Australia’s water reform experience, this project seeks to assist water users to transition to the use of robust water sharing system. Work began with the development of a Blueprint for the Development of Robust Water Sharing Arrangements. This Blueprint is now being tested in the Diamond Valley in Nevada and, through a Roadmap, in several groundwater communities California.

Project objectives

By the end of 2018, we hope to be able to point to a number of communities who have decided to transition to a robust water sharing systems. Key insights include the importance of attending to the development of institutional arrangements that enable individual users to trade water.

Project outputs

Report: Unbundling Water Rights: A Blueprint for Development of Robust Water Allocation Systems in the Western United States

Working paper: Sharing Groundwater: A Robust Framework and Implementation Roadmap for Sustainable Groundwater Management in California

Project partners


Environmental Defense Fund

Water Foundation


Tagged in Projects:Water policy, Projects:Resilient landscapes, Active projects