What is the Western States Water Council?

WSWC Rules of Organization (revised July 10, 2015)

The Western States Water Council is an organization consisting of representatives appointed by the governors of 18 western states. Since its creation, through adoption of a resolution at the Western Governors’ Conference in 1965, the Council has striven to fulfill its chartered purposes. The purposes of the Council are: (1) to accomplish effective cooperation among western states in the conservation, development and management of water resources; (2) to maintain vital state prerogatives, while identifying ways to accommodate legitimate federal interests; (3) to provide a forum for the exchange of views, perspectives, and experiences among member states; and (4) to provide analysis of federal and state developments in order to assist member states in evaluating impacts of federal laws and programs and the effectiveness of state laws and policies.

Since the Council was created by the governors, and since the members serve at their respective governor’s pleasure, the Council sees itself as being accountable to the Western Governors’ Association (WGA). Council members and staff work closely with the WGA staff on water policy issues of concern to the governors. Much of the Council’s work is accomplished under the auspices of its three working committees, which meet three times a year: namely, the Water Resources Committee, the Water Quality Committee and the Legal Committee.

As states continue to carry out their traditional role with regard to water allocation and management, the challenges are increasing. With changing and increasing demands on limited water resources, complicated by an increasingly complex overlay of federal laws and regulations, the importance of cooperative efforts and exchanges by and among states has likewise been magnified. With the continued support of its member states, the Council plans to continue to facilitate such vital cooperation.