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among its states to agree on me amount of water each can receive, it has proven to be inflexible in meeting needs not envisioned in 1922, such as demands from Mexico and population growth in Arizona and Nevada. Incentives from the federal government, such as dams, have helped the negotiations along, and judges have helped keep states from taking more than their share, so the compact has remained in force. But the use of the water probably is not optimal.
An International Perspective
Organizing government agencies to integrate environmental, social, and economic perspectives on watershed management is not a new idea. Although we can find examples of watershed management activities in many nations (e.g., Costa Rica), the focus here is on nations whose general legal and policy frameworks resemble those of the United States because of a shared heritage of British common law. Among such nations, the United States alone adheres to the dominance of agencies like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Bureau of Reclamation, each pursuing its own mission defined by topic. The experiences of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Great Britain provide examples of water-resource management with organizational structures dominated by watershed organizations.
In Canada, provincial governments traditionally have organized their water and environment planning activities according to watersheds (Newson, 1992). In Ontario, for example, 38 "conservation authorities" promote integrated planning for development. The authorities are organized by local interests, often municipalities, and usually consider issues such as flood control, recreation management, water supply, and water quality together rather than separately. However, it has proven challenging to coordinate actions between these local conservation authorities and the larger-scale activities of the federal government, and to deal with the complexities of interbasin water transfers. A review of Canadian water policy outlined five strategies for improving the situation; these strategies emphasize water pricing, science leadership, integrated planning, larger scale legislation to span jurisdictions, and improved public participation (Pearse et al., 1985).
Australia's experience with watershed management is similar to that of Canada in that both countries have states (Australia) and provinces (Canada) that are large with respect to most of the nation's river basins, and both nations tend to emphasize water and watershed management at the state or provincial level rather than the federal level. Two legislative changes in the state of South Australia are of interest: the Catchment Water Management Act of 1995 and the Water Resources Act of 1997. The 1995 legislation is one in a series of laws that specify the management capabilities of local agencies called "catchment water management boards" (State of South Australia, 1995). These boards have responsibility for significant aspects of planning and implementing efforts to manage water, controlling flooding, dealing with recreation issues, and preserving and improv-