First Advisor

Teresa Bulman

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography




Water-supply -- Oregon -- Malheur Lake Basin



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, iv, 119 p.)


Two perspectives are debated in current United States water policy model development. One perspective calls for policy based on normative values, such as an environmental ethic. The second perspective calls for policy based on empirical, quantifiable values, for instance, economic benefits and costs. This theoretical debate arises from differing assumptions about what is problematic in contemporary water policy, and in turn gives rise to many water policy models. Developing such models ostensibly provides frameworks useful for developing real-world water policies. This paper proposes that these water policy models are not in fact useful frameworks for policy applications because the models do not accurately account for the actual circumstances confronting water policy makers. In order to illustrate this hypothesis, a comparison of two water policy models with a set of real-world policy circumstances is made here. The two models, each representing one of the dominant theoretical perspectives, are taken from David Lewis Feldman's Water resources manaiement: In search of an environmental ethic (1991) and Peter Rogers' America's water: Federal roles and responsibilities (1993). Feldman's model was selected to represent the normative perspective, and Rogers' model is selected to represent the empirical perspective. The real-world water policy circumstances selected for this study are those of Malheur Lake Basin, Oregon. This basin was selected because it provides the opportunity to consider a range of water policy issues and problems. This study shows that these two models do not offer adequate frameworks for applications. If water policy models are to provide useful frameworks for applications, model development must more closely consider actual cases.


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