Water Transfers in the West Report Released
As new demands stretch the West’s limited water resources, cities, industry, environmentalists and other new water users increasingly turn to voluntary, market-based water transfers. The Western Governors passed a policy in 2011 specifically recognizing the potential benefits of market-based water transfers as well as concerns for those who rely on current water sharing arrangements.
One outcome of that policy resolution was a directive to identify and promote innovative ways to allow water transfers from agricultural to other uses (including urban, energy and environmental) while avoiding or mitigating damages to agricultural economies and communities. With that priority identified by the Governors, WGA and WSWC have engaged in a year-long project on Innovative Water Transfers.
The Western Governors and the Western States Water Council co-released a report in December 2012, titled Water Transfers in the West, which provides an overview on how the region can help meet growing demands for water with voluntary market-based sales and leases of water rights.
The report is a product of a year-long project in partnership with the Western States Water Council (WSWC), a group of top water administrators in the Western states. The Western Governors’ Association and WSWC convened three stakeholder workshops with more than 100 participants from July to December of 2011. The meetings drew state administrators, environmental organizations, farmers, academics, and water resource professionals from across the West, providing diverse perspectives on water transfers. Some of those participants share their perspectives on transfers in this document.
Scarce water resources mean that nearly everyone has an interest in resource reallocation through water transfers. The WGA and WSWC convened three stakeholder workshops with over 100 participants from July to December of 2011. The meetings drew state water administrators, environmental NGOs, farmers, academics, and water resource professionals from across the West, providing diverse perspectives on water transfers.
Innovative Water Transfers Workshop I - Bend, Oregon - July 27, 2011
On July 27th, the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) and Western States Water Council (WSWC) held a meeting in Bend, Oregon to kick-off a year-long project on innovative water transfers in the West. Attendees included WSWC members from state water and natural resource departments as well as agricultural water users, cities, environmental interests, and water market professionals. The primary purposes of the meeting were to inform states and other stakeholders of the project and to solicit guidance and research direction for key issues over the next year.
Presentations and materials from the July 2011 workshop:
- Info sheet on the WGA-WSWC Innovative Transfers Project
- Introductory information on the WGA-WSWC joint project on Innovative Water Transfers -- Tom Iseman, WGA
- Graphical representations of trends in water transfers from 1988 to 2009 -- Carlee Brown, WGA (Uses data collected by the UCSB Bren School from transfers recorded by The Water Strategist)
- An overview of infrastructure and legislation relating to California's water transfer -- Jeanine Jones, California Department of Water Resources
- An overview of alternatives to water transfers being explored through a grant program in Colorado-- Jennifer Gimbel, Colorado Water Conservation Board
- A joint presentation on the efforts taken in the Upper Deschutes Basin to restore instream flows -- Steve Johnson, Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID); Marc Thalacker, Three Sisters Irrigation District (TSID); Pat Griffiths, Water Resources Coordinator, Bend, OR; Tod Heisler, Executive Director, Deschutes Water Conservancy
- Presentation on Oregon's Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS) -- Phil Ward, Oregon Water Resources Department.
Innovative Water Transfers Workshop II - Denver, Colorado - October 27-28, 2011
On October 27 and 28, water policy experts from public, private, and non-profit fields convened in Denver for a workshop on innovative water transfers. The workshop was jointly hosted by the Western Governors Association and Western States Water Council as part of a year-long project to identify policy strategies for Western states to use in water transfers. The Colorado Water Conservation Board joined as a host in this workshop, the second in a round of three meetings.
Presentations and materials from the October 2011 workshop:
- Innovative Water Transfers Workshop II: Denver MEETING SUMMARY
- Innovative Water Transfers Workshop II: Denver AGENDA
- Opening Remarks and Old Map of Regional Water Transfers: Tony Willardson
- Panel 1 - Fostering Local Solutions: Jim Yahn
- Panel 1 - Fostering Local Solutions: Mark Pifher
- Panel 1 - Fostering Local Solutions: Brianna Randall
- Case Study on Super Ditch: Peter Nichols
- Panel 2 - Administration of Water Rights and Transaction Costs: Bonnie Colby
- Panel 2 - Administration of Water Rights and Transaction Costs: Brad Wind
- Panel 2 - Administration of Water Rights and Transaction Costs: Monica Van Bussum
- Presentation on CSU and Water Transfers Work: MaryLou Smith
- Panel 3 - Impacts to Areas of Origin: James Pritchett
- Panel 3 - Impacts to Areas of Origin: Bill Hasencamp
- Presentation on Transfers and the Bureau of Reclamation: Lisa Vehmas
- Meeting Review: Tom Iseman
- Breakout Group Notes
Innovative Water Transfers Workshop III - Las Vegas, Nevada - December 12-13, 2011
On December 12 and 13, a group of practitioners, scholars, water resource managers, and experts gathered for a workshop on innovative water transfers. The group convened to discuss three aspects of water transfers and to find creative ways to approach them: transfers involving the Bureau of Reclamation, infrastructure and transfers, and the role of the private sector in water transfers.
Presentations and materials from the December 2011 workshop:
- Innovative Water Transfers Workshop III: Las Vegas MEETING SUMMARY
- Innovative Water Transfers Workshop III: Las Vegas AGENDA
- Panel 1 - Transfers and the Bureau of Reclamation: Bonnie Colby
- Panel 1 - Transfers and the Bureau of Reclamation: Jesus Reyes
- Panel 1 - Transfers and the Bureau of Reclamation: Richard Stevenson
- Panel 1 - Transfers and the Bureau of Reclamation: Tom Glover
- Speaker: Carly Jerla, Bureau of Reclamation
- Speaker: Brad Udall, Western Water Assessment
- Project Discussion: Carlee Brown, Western Governors' Association
- Panel 2 - Infrastructure and Water Transfers: Dan Birch
- Panel 2 - Infrastructure and Water Transfers: Michael L. King
- Panel 2 - Infrastructure and Water Transfers: Tim Henley
- Case Study - PVID/MWD Transfer: Bill Hasencamp
- Case Study - PVID/MWD Transfer: Ed Smith
- Case Study - PVID/MWD Transfer: Jay Abbs
- Speaker: Jason King, State Engineer, Nevada
- Panel 3 - The Role of the Private Sector in Water Transfers: Rodney T. Smith
- Panel 3 - The Role of the Private Sector in Water Transfers: Mike Schlehuber
- Panel 3 - The Role of the Private Sector in Water Transfers: Tom Hicks