Federalism and U.S. water policy: Lessons for the twenty-first century

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


This article traces five historical streams of water policy in the United States, revealing the strain and stresses of intergovernmental relations pertaining to water resource management. It finds that water policy is increasingly characterized by pragmatic federalism emphasizing collaborative partnerships, adaptable management strategies, and problem and process orientation. The evolving nature of federal-state relations, characterized by expanding federal authorities and increased state capacity, coupled with a rise of local watershed groups and greater ecological concern, calls for improved coordination. Yet challenges resulting from policy fragmentation and ecosystem complexity remain. Continued calls for greater integration will likely be heard as federal-state relations continue to evolve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-257
Number of pages27
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'Federalism and U.S. water policy: Lessons for the twenty-first century'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this