Graduation Year

Fall 2011

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP)

Reader 1

J. Emil Morhardt

Reader 2

Gregory Hess

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© Leah Bross

Abstract

In approaching such complicated water issues as faced in the Central Valley, the United Nations has attempted to create a process for effective water resource governance with its Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) process. This approach outlines four dimensions of water governance that must be acknowledged and balanced in an effective policymaking process.2 Initially, policymakers must divide water resources equitably along socio-economic strata. After this, water resources must be efficiently used to promote economic growth. In allocating this resource between parties, all stakeholders and citizens must be given equal political opportunities to influence the division and distribution process. Finally, it is essential to the United Nations that water be appropriated and used in an environmentally sustainable way that not only protects ecosystems, but also those who depend on those ecosystems for their livelihoods. It is essential that policymakers in charge of distributing California’s water rights use the IWRM program as a baseline and a starting point for any future policy regimens, as these are the four most basic and integral components of the issue that must be addressed.

Beyond the IWRM guidelines, policymakers must approach water distribution issues with the several diverse viewpoints and interests of Californians in mind. It is important to note that as policy issues are being debated, the problem itself is also constantly in flux. In the face of these varied challenges that put a strain on already scarce water resources, appropriate governance and management is becoming more and more necessary. It has been stated that “as a result of climate change,environmental degradation, and a lack of sustained investment in the system, our water system can nolonger meet the needs of the state.”3 The distribution of water in the Central Valley requires an intricate balance of interests between rival, yet deeply interconnected parties.In creating successful water policy, party lines must be crossed and compromises must be agreed upon in the interest of California’s economic, environmental, and social wellbeing.

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