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Chapter 14: Water Use Conflicts

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 14: Water Use Conflicts"— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 14: Water Use Conflicts
Reasons for Water Use Conflicts Case Studies California Texas Panhandle Middle East Alabama and Florida vs. Georgia Tragedy of the Commons

2 Reasons for Water Use Conflicts
Population Growth Demand for water increased 900% in 1900s Inadequate drinking water (quality / quantity) Growth in urban centers, takes rural water Water Consumption Growth More lawns, pools, washing machines, dishwashers, showers, toilets Industrial and agricultural water use


4 Water Conflicts 47% of all land in river basins are within multiple countries Few political boundaries are drawn along watershed lines Upstream water users tend to hoard their water Downstream users get less water, of poorer quality


6 Good News - Bad News Good News: Bad News: Increased water efficiencies
Better water treatment More international coordination Bad News: Breakup of empires, such as Soviet Union Climate change Ethnic conflicts

7 Water Conflicts Pacific Institute (a nonprofit organization) maintains a Water Conflict Chronology


9 California Water Conflicts
Within California Northern vs. Southern Agriculture vs. Urban Coastal vs. Inland With Neighbors => Colorado River Upper Basin vs. Lower Basin vs. Arizona vs. Mexico


11 California Population

12 Northern California


14 Wind Gap Pumping Plant, Tehachapi Range north of LA
California Aqueduct

15 Owens Valley Aqueduct


17 Mono Lake



20 Lower Colorado River

21 Arizona-California Water War
For eight months in 1934, a contingent of National Guard troops occupied the Parker Dam site on the Colorado River and made preparations to repel a possible invasion from the west. The battle was settled when the U. S. Supreme Court issued an injunction prohibiting Arizona from interfering with the construction of the dam. The dam was completed in 1938.

22 Where’s the Next Water? Given that the water from California and the surrounding states has all been spoken for... Where should Southern California go next? a. Mexico d. Canada b. Pacific Northwest e. Alaska c. South Pole


24 Any Other Great Ideas? Towing Icebergs Maybe?



27 Texas Panhandle Groundwater pumping from the Ogallala
By 1990, 25% of the water was gone Remaining water was too expensive 1,000,000 acres of farmland abandoned Passed Senate Bill #1 in 1997 during a drought Established regional planning groups Develop long-range plans Create Water Availability Models

28 Texas “Law of Capture” Allows users to pump as much as they can
T. Boone Pickens developed a plan to pump 200,000 Acre-Feet in the Panhandle of Texas and ship it to the thirsty cities The cost to deliver to San Antonio is about $2.5 billion




32 Texas Groundwater Districts
Texas now has 83 Groundwater Districts No statewide system Districts vary in how they are organized Rarely deal with groundwater and surface water in an integrated fashion 59 of districts are single-county Many are so small they don’t have resources to carry out mission Some districts have no source of funding S. Collier Regional Institutions for Managing Water Resources. Georgia Southern University



35 Middle East Israeli (Jewish) - Palestinian (Muslim)
Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea are falling Heavy salinization of water Israel restricts water use by Arabs Turkey is building large dams upstream Syria and Iraq water supplies are being cut off Egypt is worried about upstream uses Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, etc.





40 Water Use


42 Alabama and Florida vs. Georgia

43 Two Separate Disputes ACT (Alabama - Georgia) Alabama Coosa Tallapoosa
ACF (Alabama - Florida - Georgia) Apalachicola Chattahoochee Flint Almost all of the conflict has occurred in ACF

44 ACF Issues Georgia Wants water for growth, both supply and wastewater dilution capacity Thinks since it s the upstream state should have first rights Alabama Wants growth and hydropower Doesn’t think it should be penalized for being downstream Florida Wants to protect Apalachicola Bay (oysters) and endangered river species (mussels and sturgeon)

45 Stakeholders Homeowner groups Power Companies Cities and Counties
Want to protect their land value and their environment Power Companies Want to protect their investments Cities and Counties Want to be able to grow Environmentalists Want to protect aquatic habitats Farmers Want water to irrigate

46 Florida vs. Georgia Farmers in Flint River basin pump water from Floridan aquifer and from Flint River and tributaries to irrigate This reduces flow in the Flint, but the effect of groundwater withdrawals is poorly understoond Flint River Drought Protection Act passed by GA legislature in 2000 established fund to pay farmers not to irrigate in a drought year Implemented in 2001 and 2002


48 Florida vs. Georgia In separate case FL sued US Fish & Wildlife Service over Endangered Species Act in 2006 COE operates four major dams along the ACF Operations threaten Gulf sturgeon and rare mussel species Reduced the area of flowing streams required for the endangered fat threeridge, the threatened purple bankclimber, and other mussels. Critical spawning areas for Gulf sturgeon also have been left dry at times FL says it doesn't advocate removing the dams But it does demand that the Corps end its authorization of water use from reservoirs by upstream cities, including Atlanta Case is Phase II of Magnuson court case

49 Florida vs. Georgia Interim operating plan is being used to control discharge from Jim Woodruff dam at FL-GA line USFWS estimated in 2006 that mussels would survive with a minimum flow of 5,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) This flow was set many years ago by Corps of Engineers for reasons other than mussels Records dating back to 1929 show that river never fell below this level even in a drought Plant Scholz (next slide) To maintain 5,000 cfs at GA-FL line Corps of Engineers must release about 1,500 cfs from Lake Lanier

50 Florida vs. Georgia Part of the reason for maintaining 5,000 cfs is Plant Scholz, a coal-fired power plant just below FL-GA line that requires cooling water At lower flows water uptake is difficult Uses 130 million gpd to cool steam Serves 19,000 customers and is critical to maintaining electrical grid in local area

51 Lake Lanier Phase I Magnuson decision July 2009
Paul A. Magnuson, US District Court Judge Lawsuit filed by Alabama in 1990 FL soon joined lawsuit Did not address endangered species aspect of conflict with Florida (that is Phase II) Issue is: Does Atlanta have the right to withdraw water from Lake Lanier under the federal law that authorized building the reservoir?

52 Magnuson Decision Congress authorized COE to build Buford dam in 1945/46 and construction finished in 1960 Federal Water Supply Act requires: “Modifications of a reservoir project heretofore authorized, surveyed, planned, or constructed to include storage [for water supply] which would seriously affect the purposes for which the project was authorized, surveyed, planned, or constructed, or which would involve major structural or operational changes shall be made only upon the approval of Congress . . .

53 Magnuson Decision Record clearly shows that original authorization did not include water supply Purpose of Lake Lanier was flood control, hydropower generation, and improved navigation In 1980’s, COE internal operating documents show a shift to ensuring water supply for Atlanta as a goal In 1989, draft Water Control Guidelines called for reallocating 22% of conservation storage to water supply for Atlanta COE decided this did not require Congressional authorization

54 Magnuson Decision To avoid long legal battle, in 1997 legislatures in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida passed separately laws to establish ACT and ACF Compacts Created 2 water commissions to find a solution Federal commissioner oversaw compacts Agreed that if the commissions could not reach agreement within a given time period they would be dissolved Time period extended several times Negotiations collapsed in 2003

55 Post-Searchlight, Bainbridge GA
Post, Cherokee Co AL, 2001

56 Magnuson Decision I In 2000, GA requested approval from COE for further increase in withdrawal from Lake Lanier for Gwinnet Co and downstream of Buford Dam for Atlanta Represented 34% of conservation storage in Lake Lanier COE denied request Judge Magnuson ruled that FL and AL were correct in July 2009 Reallocation of water to ensure water supply to Atlanta was a major change and therefore required Congressional approval Gave Atlanta 3 years to resolve conflict or cease withdrawing

57 Magnuson Decision II In recent court decision on Phase II Judge Magnuson ruled that Florida’s case is moot Because of his earlier ruling on Phase I Georgia and COE have 3 years to get approval from Congress for a new operating plan for Lake Lanier Until the new operating plan is developed the effect on endangered species is unknown

58 Tragedy of the Commons Why do we fight over water (and other natural resources)? Tragedy of the Commons used to explain human perspective that leads to resource mismanagement and conflict

59 Tragedy of the Commons Taken from Gary W. Harding What is the Commons? Garrett Hardin, Science 162:1243, 1968 What is the Commons? The "commons" is any resource which is shared by a group of people. Such things as the air we breath and the water we drink come from commons. In many parts of the world; new land for farming and grazing land for stock, fish from the sea, and wood for fuel and housing are treated as commons.

60 Tragedy of the Commons

61 Commons Fourteenth century Britain was organized as a loosely aligned collection of villages, each with a common pasture for villagers to graze horses, cattle and sheep Each household attempted to gain wealth by putting as many animals on the commons as it could afford As the village grew in size and more and more animals were placed on the commons, overgrazing ruined the pasture No stock could be supported on the commons thereafter As a consequence of population growth, greed, and the logic of the commons, village after village collapsed

62 Logic of the Commons Each household has the right to take resources from and put wastes into the commons. To accumulate wealth, each household believes that it can acquire one unit of resources or dump one unit of waste while distributing one unit of cost across all of the households with whom the commons is shared. The gain to the household appears large and the cost very small. Some households accumulate wealth more rapidly than others and this, in turn, gives them the means to access an even larger share of the commons.

63 Fallacy of the Commons All households are attempting to do the same thing. Thus, on average, one unit of gain for a household actually produces a net one unit of cost for each household. However, selfish households accumulate wealth from the commons by acquiring more than their fair share of the resources and paying less than their fair share of the total costs. Ultimately, as population grows and greed runs rampant, the commons collapses and ends in "the tragedy of the commons"

64 Commons other than Land
How could anyone own rain, wind, and the open ocean? Population growth, greed, and the logic of the commons has virtually destroyed the worlds ocean fisheries and the Amazon rain forest. Huge tracts of land have succumbed to desertification. Crowding overwhelms Yosemite National Park and the freeways and parking facilities in our big cities. The accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is precipitating significant global warming which will produce climate change A significant loss of biodiversity is underway; some call it a mass-extinction event.

65 Possible Solutions: Privatization:
Common lands were parceled up into small tracts, each owned by a household. If a household destroyed its own plot, it was its own fault. However, as population grew, each new generation of households was left with a smaller portion of the original. There was still the opportunity for some households to accumulate wealth by acquiring land from others. Thus, private ownership did nothing to control greed - it merely shifted it to a new arena. The number of landless households grew rapidly, each one descending deeper and deeper into abject poverty.

66 Possible Solutions Government regulation:
Allocation of natural resources based on the Public Trust Doctrine User fees in order to provide economic incentives for conservation. Limitations on wasteful and abusive practices that harm public welfare.

67 Reminder! Project presentations start Monday after Thanksgiving break (Nov 29) Papers are due Nov 29 Limit your presentation to no more than 10 slides. You can use Powerpoint, Word, or anything you want.

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