From the Associated Press (Matt Gouras) via the Sky-Hi Daily News:
In many states, water claims in entire watersheds remain in limbo without the funding to sort out exactly who owns what, [University of Arizona law professor and author Robert Glennon] said. Then there are the treaty claims by many Native American tribes that can stretch back 150 years. Some of the claims are still the focus of unresolved settlements that ultimately could require the taxpayers to cough up cash to buy the water rights. About three-quarters of the region’s water goes to agriculture. Glennon said prices need to be raised to increase conservation — a notion not quickly embraced by the governors.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said the water claims can only be sorted out locally, even if it’s a laborious process. No would trust outsiders to come in and do it for them, he said. “We are very jealous about our water in Idaho and our use of it,” Otter said.
There is still too little known about the interconnection of different water aquifers, rivers and basins, the governors were told. These relationships will be key in charting out water use agreements. “I think there is general consensus we can’t manage what we can’t measure and we what we don’t understand,” said Michael Connor, commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.