Water Allocation in Southern Alberta

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Belayneh, Anteneh




This dissertation examines water allocation in southern Alberta and develops a fungibility framework for water rights and examines a range of characteristics impacting the transferability of water rights in southern Alberta. Fungibility is the degree to which water rights are homogenous. The fungibility of water rights is impacted by the number of different water rights within a given basin, the way these rights are defined, limitations on their transferability and how secure they are. Recognizing the characteristics that impact fungibility and ensuring water rights are as homogenous as possible makes these water rights easier to transfer between water users and may ensure a more effective water transfer system in southern Alberta. Even though water license transfers have been limited in terms of amount and volume, the total economic benefit from water use in the South Saskatchewan River Basin can increase through water reallocation. This dissertation illustrates how, without institutional constraints, basin-wide economic benefits could increase and shows what a potential reallocation of water allocations in the region looks like. This reallocation could see more water diverted to municipal users at the expense of agricultural users. Finally, the political influence of irrigators is examined. Efforts at reallocating water away from irrigation will be limited unless coalitions develop that can minimize the influence of irrigation's proponents.






Carleton University

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Public Policy

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Theses and Dissertations

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