Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Policy Studies

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Catherine Mobley

Committee Member

Dr. Jeffery Allen, Co-Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Bruce Ransom

Committee Member

Dr. Kenneth Robinson


Worldwide, water resources are undergoing rapid changes emerging from both man-made and natural factors. Increasing demands for water for agriculture, industry, power generation, and domestic use combined with more intense and variable weather patterns are negatively affecting water availability and escalating the potential for conflict between entities sharing these critical resources.

This study examines the Delaware River Basin federal-interstate compact to determine how these agreements provide a means by which several competing states can develop and implement an effective regional governance system. Using a grounded theory case study approach, it uses documents, surveys, and interviews to examine how the Compact emerged, the nature of the problems leading to the Compact, and the mechanisms that were developed to address the basin issues. Several theoretical concepts emerged from this study that help to explain the success of the Delaware River Basin Compact.

Overall, this study found that a successful compact begins with certain properties that help determine, within the context of the natural, social, and political environments, how the compact is structured and what mechanisms are used. These findings suggest that future compacts may be more successful if careful attention is paid to beginning with the framework properties identified here and closely aligning the compact structures and mechanisms with the needs of the various environments. These results have implications for managing current and future transboundary water resource conflicts by aiding in the development of interstate compacts and the evaluation and modification of current compacts.



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