Importation (of Water)

The act or process whereby water is brought into an area or region which would not naturally receive such waters. Typically, it refers to the artificial transport of water through aqueducts, canals, or pipelines from one water basin, drainage area, or Hydrographic Area to another, thereby affecting the natural surface and groundwater drainage and flow patterns in both the water exporting and importing areas. In terms of a Water Banking or Water Marketing concept, such actions to move water from areas of low use to areas of high use place a more realistic monetary value on water as a scarce economic commodity and result in enhanced economic efficiency by putting existing water resources, wherever located, to more productive economic use. However, considerable public concern and controversy surround this practice. These concerns deal primarily with issues relating to altering the natural flows of both surface and ground waters, adverse environmental and habitat impacts on water exporting areas, the limitations placed on the long-term growth and development of the water exporting region or hydrographic area, the potentially adverse hydrologic effects on groundwater (water table and aquifer) conditions in the exporting area as well as the generally unknown effects on surrounding hydrographic areas and aquifer conditions, and the dependency acquired by the water importing area to continued diversions and water importations. The concept of a public policy limiting an area’s development to its natural ability to support population growth only through existing and readily available natural resources, particularly water, is referred to as an Antediluvian Policy.