About the Council
The Western States Water Council is an organization consisting of representatives appointed by the governors of eighteen 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. While the emphasis and focus of the Council has changed over the years, that essential principles remain: to foster cooperation among it member states, and provide a forum for discussion of a broad spectrum of water resource challenges facing the West. The purposes of the Council are to:
- Accomplish effective cooperation among western states in the conservation, development and management of water resources;
- Maintain vital state prerogatives, while identifying ways to accommodate legitimate federal interests;
- Provide a forum for the exchange of views, perspectives, and experiences among member states; and
- 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.
For more about the WSWC, please click here…
The Western States Water Council is the preeminent water policy organization in the western U.S. representing as it does 18 western states. From influential positions on federal rules and legislation to support of Landsat missions intended to acquire important water use information, the Council serves it member states like no other entity. My 18-year membership with the Council is one of the most memorable experiences of my service as Wyoming State Engineer.
Without this forum we would all be reinventing every wheel. We would also miss out on the opportunity to refine and improve our own successes with ideas we garner from our sister states. There are a lot of great ways to do things out across the states of the West, but they wouldn’t be half as great if they stood in isolation and weren’t being shared and refined in the collegial forum of the Council.
I find the Council to be a provocative forum to discuss how State water supply and water quality program should interact. Western perspectives highlight the unique and confounding aspects of managing water quality in ways that defy uniform application of the Clean Water Act. And there may be no greater champion of the importance of water data programs of the USGS and NRCS than the WSWC.
Participation in the Western States Water Council reaps rewards far surpassing the resources invested in the organization. Since water resource and water quality agency heads, as well as water attorneys for the states, participate personally at the Council meetings, water policy issues important to all of us in the West can be debated and positions taken. Coming from a state with a single Representative in the Congress, the ability to join forces with the other western states on water issues is critical to our success.