Consensus Report

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

The American West faces many challenges, but none is more important than the challenge of managing its water. This book examines the role that water transfers can play in allocating the region's scarce water resources. It focuses on the variety of third parties, including Native Americans, Hispanic communities, rural communities, and the environment, that can sometimes be harmed when water is moved.

The committee presents recommendations to guide states, tribes, and federal agencies toward better regulation. Seven in-depth case studies are presented: Nevada's Carson-Truckee basin, the Colorado Front Range, northern New Mexico, Washington's Yakima River basin, central Arizona, and the Central and Imperial valleys in California.

Water Transfers in the West presents background and current information on factors that have encouraged water transfers, typical types of transfers, and their potential negative effects. The book highlights the benefits that water transfers can bring but notes the need for more third-party representation in the processes used to evaluate planned transfers.