WATER LAW IMPACTS ON HYDROLOGIC FUNCTION
Using a paired basin approach, we examine catchment response to legal dynamics across geographic and size gradients. Utilization of historic data including USGS gauging data and NCDC climate data along this divide can provide basin pairs with extended historical data. Preliminary data from a basin pair (L. Nemaha River, NE/Tarkio River, MO) shows that the P.A. basin displays a consistently lower runoff: rainfall ratio than the Riparian basin. In fact, the P.A. runoff: rainfall ratios are on average 60% of those in the Riparian member (r2 = 0.67), despite a spatial proximity of ~45km, strongly suggesting that P.A. law diminishes yield. New well registrations for the basins cannot explain the difference: Both basins show a sharp increase in new wells post-1990, with few records pre-1950. Interestingly, NID data shows that cumulative Nemaha dam registrations are roughly equal to Tarkio’s in 1950, but outnumber Tarkio dams on average by a factor of 6.5 between 1950 and present, and by as much as a factor of 14 in 1965.