Matthew Draper argued in a presentation today that Eastern States should consider negotiating the rules of water allocation between them, much as many Western states did in the past century, to address and prevent water shortages due to changing climactic conditions.
States' alternative to negotiated compacts is to wait until a dispute arises and then seek an equitable allocation of interstate waters from the U.S. Supreme Court, a process which is often lengthy, expensive, and may result in unpredictable or unpalatable outcomes. The Delaware River Basin Compact (1961) is an good example of a successful water allocation agreement among Eastern States.
Matthew's presentation, which is available here, was part of a panel discussion on "Climate Change and Water Management in Eastern States: Overcoming Barriers to Innovation in Regulated Riparianism" hosted by the American Water Resources Association. Other speakers included Prof. Lara B. Fowler of Pennsylvania State University School of Law, and Prof. Beth Kinne of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
For more information about interstate compacts, visit Draper & Draper's U.S. Transboundary Waters Database.