Water Resources Professional Project Reports

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2020


There is an ideological divide between the goal of universal access to clean water and the outcomes of how water regulations are implemented. John Fleck, author of Water is for Fighting Over: and Other Myths about Water in the West and Sivas, et al. in California Water Governance in the 21st Century present contesting prescriptions for Western water management. The ideologies advocated by Fleck and Sivas, et al. differ as to who enacts and profits from each and exemplify the divide between the goals of water regulations and how they are implemented. Fleck regards water as property and an economic good, and his prescriptions benefit an exclusive network of experts and senior appropriators. Sivas et al. argue that water is a life-giving public and environmental good that can only be managed ethically and sustainably if the public establishes water use priorities. It may be impossible to reconcile these conflicting perspectives, with Fleck representing the status quo of maintaining seniority rights-based water allocation systems, and Sivas, et al. championing democratic water governance.


water governance, water management, water justice