1st Edition

The Drought Dilemma States, Innovation, and the Politics of Water Quantity

    144 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Water policy in United States is one of the most complex topics in the field of public policy. This book, a comparative study of Texas, California, and Alabama’s drought response, provides for the first time a common framework for analysis to investigate how water scarcity and droughts have interacted with various state-level factors to produce a wide degree of variance in policy innovations. Using Toddi Steelman’s (2010) conceptual framework, the authors examine multiple variables that impact water policy innovation, while showing how one policy solution does not fit all. They expertly demonstrate divergence in water policies due to the environmental cultures, water distribution, and structures in each case, despite similar drought conditions.

    As water is increasingly stressed in the future, the ability to draw on lessons learned by these states will provide valuable insight to other entities that face droughts and water shortages. The Drought Dilemma is a must read for all those looking for recommendations for the construction of drought policy, as well as future approaches to understand comparative state drought policy.

    List of Figures.  List of Tables.  Acknowledgments.  List of Abbreviations. 1. State Policy and Droughts 2. A Theory of State Drought Policy 3. Texas: Scarcity and Cooperation 4. California: A Battle over Historic Water Rights 5. Alabama: Benign Neglect 6. An Analysis of the Three Cases 7. Conclusions and Future Directions  Appendix: Interview Protocol


    Jonathan D. Farley is a contract simulator instructor at Naval Air Station Meridian, MS. He retired from active duty in the United States Navy after a 20-year career as an F/A-18 pilot. His research interests include environmental management and international resource conflict. He has published on water conflict in Asia and future military concepts, such as multi-domain operations. He previously served as an instructor at the Air Command and Staff College located at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. In addition to his role as an instructor, he was a guest lecturer at the Royal Danish Defense College, German Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, and the NATO School Oberammergau.

    Jonathan M. Fisk is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Auburn University. He has published nearly two dozen single/co-authored articles/book chapters in journals including the American Review of Public Administration; Energy Policy; State and Local Government Review; Risk, Hazards, and Crises in Public Policy; Public Integrity; Society and Natural Resources; Politics and Policy; and Review of Policy Research. He has worked on grants from the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    John C. Morris is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Auburn University. He has studied environmental policy and water policy for more than 30 years and published widely on public administration and public policy. He is the author/coauthor/editor of 12 books, more than 85 scholarly articles, and more than 40 book chapters and reports.

    As temperatures continue to rise and we experience a greater frequency of extreme weather, drought, and over-extraction of groundwater, effective water policy management is at a critical juncture. Farley, Fisk, and Morris explore these complexities through the study of three exceedingly divergent states: Alabama, California, and Texas. The approach highlights how water policy is driven as much by political culture, institutional characteristics, and historical context as it is by need and best practices. This work will unquestionably be of interest to policymakers and scholars interested in better understanding the complexities and challenges of state water policy.

    —Martin Mayer, University of North Carolina at Pembroke

    The Drought Dilemma stands out as a pivotal and enlightening read. This book skillfully navigates the challenging water drought policies in Alabama, Texas, and California, offering key insights into one of our time’s most pressing environmental challenges. Detailed interviews enhance the authors’ extensive research, illuminating the multifaceted aspects of drought management and water policy. This work reveals that the complexities of environmental problems and policy innovations defy simple categorizations like political ideology or regional location. By bringing the critical aspect of environmental resource distribution to the forefront, the book contributes significantly to our understanding of policy variations and their broader implications and serves as a vital guide for understanding and improving environmental policy. It’s an essential addition to the field, poised to influence both current discussions and future policy developments in water management. This book will make a valuable contribution to environmental and natural resource literature.

    —David P. Adams, California State University at Fullerton

    The Drought Dilemma presents an examination of water policy innovation through a comparative case study analysis across three states: California, Texas, and Alabama. This work underscores the dynamic nature of water problems in these states and the growing challenges facing state and local governments to address regional water issues through effective water management approaches. The central message, the efficacy of water management, requires innovative policy solutions that adapt to changing environmental conditions and mediate future water crises. This study offers environmental scholars, water management practitioners, and students interested in natural resource policy a unique framework to understand the complexities of state-level water policies and the importance of governmental response to meet current and future water needs.

    Luisa M. Diaz-Kope, University of North Georgia