Bulk water transfers are complicated by unclear transfer evaluation criteria which intensify the tensions associated with water reallocation. This paper evaluates a series of policy questions associated with water transfer laws and policies. The goal is to outline the tradeoffs between different levels of governmental oversight, with the goal of making the process more consistent and transparent. This paper is focused on the western United States in areas governed by the doctrine of prior appropriations, but the questions apply to semi-arid watersheds across the globe.

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