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Covenant Institutions and the Commons: Colorado Water Resource Management

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Allen, Barbara; Schlager, Edella
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1160
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: North America
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
water resources
property rights
institutional analysis--IAD framework
Abstract: "Covenants represent a primary means for establishing polities and crafting voluntary or enforceable obligations within political systems. Covenants differ from other consent-based institutional arrangements such as contracts in their origin, scope, and duration. Covenants offer a means for integrating heterogeneous actors politically by permitting asymmetrical rights and obligations when such structures make sense. Our paper details the principles of covenant relations and explores the affinity between a covenantal orientation and federal democratic institutions by analyzing Colorado's water resource management. Colorado governs this resource through institutions that permit resource users to develop, modify, contest, and transfer their water rights. As the Colorado case demonstrates, covenants offer scholars of commons governance an institution for creating flexible, stable agreements for sustainable resource allocation."

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