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Constitutional Choice and Water Governance in the Western U.S.

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Schlager, Edella
Conference: Vincent Ostrom: The Quest to Understand Human Affairs
Location: Bloomington, IN
Conf. Date: May 31 - June 3, 2006
Date: 2006
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/4961
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: North America
Subject(s): water resources
Workshop
Ostrom, Vincent
Abstract: "Vincent Ostrom’s early career was spent examining and explaining the governance and management of water in the western U.S. By the early 1970s, Ostrom turned his attention to developing theories of democratic administration, federalism, and democracy. He never returned to a consideration of western water governance. This paper uses the democratic political analysis initially developed by Ostrom in The Choice of Institutional Arrangements for Water Resources Development and further expanded in his later works to engage in a constitutional choice analysis of two different constitutional settings involving water in the western U.S. A constitutional choice analysis of Arizona water governance illustrates the importance of states’ constitutional choice traditions in shaping the ability of citizens to address water problems and conflicts. A constitutional choice analysis of interstate river compacts illustrates the distinction between federations and federal systems of governance and the special problems federations pose for democratic governance."

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