Flood, Droughts and Interstate Conflicts: Why Eastern States Need to Worry about Water Quantity and Water Law

Track 4B: Improving Watershed Management
Friday, October 13, 2017, 10:00 am – 11:50 am

Robert T. Caccese, Lara B. Fowler, and Brian Richter
Penn State University
The Nature Conservancy
University of Virginia

Water quantity concerns are a rapidly emerging issue in the eastern United States in response to extreme weather events (i.e. drought, floods), increased demand among sectors, new uses, and preserving ecological conditions. With a riparian legal system ill-equipped to appropriately manage water in times of shortage, conflicts and competition for water have amplified in recent years, including litigation at the U.S. Supreme Court. The need to engage scientists, lawmakers, government agencies, and other relevant parties toward the pursuit of credible data, understanding environmental needs, and educating the public is of vital importance in order to appropriately manage eastern water resources moving forward. Learning from the lessons of water management in the western U.S. and internationally can provide professionals with the necessary tools to create sustainable water management laws for the East that successfully balances human development goals, sound environmental principles, and the unique challenges of this part of the country.