In the United States (US), interstate water compacts are used to ensure the equitable division of water resources. It is necessary to understand how interstate water compacts affect intrastate water management so that administrators of water resources can effectively manage state water resources and comply with the agreed-upon allocation schemes. Although interstate compacts are more prevalent in the western US, concerns surrounding changing climate conditions, as well as water scarcity issues, have increased disputes over the management of shared water resources throughout the US. Drawing upon a case study from Colorado, the question this article seeks to answer is, how effectively does Colorado implement compliance of interstate compacts? More specifically, this report assesses implementation at the local level of government: water divisions. Using a modified version of Denise Scheberle’s implementation model, this article examines how Colorado’s Water Division 2 ensures compliance by water users party to the Arkansas River Compact. This research provides useful lessons for both academics interested in implementation studies and practitioners who are responsible for managing state resources such as water effectively, equitably, and in line with state laws and regulations. Findings suggest that compact compliance is contingent upon the effective implementation of rules curtailing water use at the local level and includes water divisions having the capacity to communicate effectively with water users and other entities involved in the maintenance of compact compliance.
Environmental Practice 16: 151–161 (2014)