Barriers to Temporary Inter‐District Water Transfers in the Yakima River Basin: Irrigation District Perspective
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Water marketing, or mechanisms to acquire and redistribute water such as temporary water transfers, can represent a valuable response to drought for irrigation districts. The Department of Ecology, the US Bureau of Reclamation, and a workgroup composed of members from various entities collaborated to develop the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan (Integrated Plan) to better manage water resources and address ecosystem issues in the Yakima River Basin. The Integrated Plan addresses water marketing but it does not provide specifics on how barriers to inter‐district water transfers will be eliminated. This study asks irrigation district managers in the Yakima River basin about the factors they consider when deciding whether to engage in a temporary inter‐district water transfer or not. Results show that institutional barriers are the most common barrier to inter‐district water transfers. This topic requires further research on fallowing and irrigation district behavior in relation to the other water supply efforts outlined in the Integrated Plan. Finally, the water market in the Yakima basin can benefit from education and outreach to senior water rights holders, shortening the time frame to process expedited transfers, and documentation from irrigation districts reporting denial reasons for temporary inter‐district water transfers.
- MA in Policy Studies