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Student Name Professor Name Environmental Science 8 April 2012 Environmental science assignment #10 1. Water allocation and management in the Western United States requires quick action needed to prevent potential disasters. This situation is due to over-consumption, climate change, and significant population growth. Federal, State, tribal and local governments face serious challenges in addressing their infrastructure needs. It must be based on health and human safety; economic growth; and the environment. (1)Investing to support the availability of clean water through financing new water projects and the rehabilitation or replacement of existing infrastructure is a key to continued economic growth. Low interest rates and low construction material costs have created a window of opportunity for project construction and financing. Increasing the public and private investment in needed water resources infrastructure at all levels should be a national goal. (2)Effective water resource planning and management requires robust public outreach and education, coupled with data collection, sound science and interagency collaboration. (3)Conservation and reuse help alleviate water stress in the West. Water conservation and demands on water resources also need to be taken into account in land-use planning and decision-making. Clean water is a precious and increasingly scarce resource. It is a valuable commodity, a complex mixed good, providing public and private services. For example, water stored for irrigation uses in accordance with exclusive private property rights, granted by States, can also be used simultaneously to provide public and private hydropower, public fisheries and public recreation. (4)Quantifying the value of water is a difficult task. However, it is important to recognize that someone has to pay for water and related goods and services. 2. Irrigation uses the overwhelming majority of water consumed in western states. Also many crops grown in the West are thirsty crops not suited to the environment. The economic value of all these crops is very low. Unsustainable irrigation harms the environment by changing

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the water table and depleting groundwater supplies. Here are some of the solutions to irrigation inefficiency: growing food using a lot less water; Proper pricing - if you have to pay for water, you will use less of it; Avoiding leaky irrigation systems and increase the area under drip irrigation. 3. Trade of real water between water-rich and water-poor states is absolutely impossible due to the large distances and associated costs, but trade in water-intensive products (virtual water trade) is realistic. Virtual water trade between states or even continents could thus be used as an instrument to improve water use efficiency and to achieve water security in water-poor regions. Idaho exports potatoes, dairy products, lumber, and hay. Ideal growing conditions - the rich, volcanic soil, climate and, especially, irrigation - are what differentiate Idaho potatoes from potatoes grown in other states. Importing vegetables and dairy products from Idaho save water for regions with dry climate. It is clear that further research should be carried out to study the natural, social, and economic implications of using virtual water trade as a strategic instrument in water policy. .

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Works Cited

Lindsay, Stephanie. Counting Every Drop: Measuring Surface and Ground Water in Washington and the West, Journal article; Environmental Law, Vol. 39, 2009 Kenney, Douglas S. Water Allocation and Management in The Western United States: an Overview, Natural Resources Law Center, University of Colorado, USA.