Local Response to Water Crisis: Explaining Variation in Usage Restrictions During a Texas Drought
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016. What explains local policy response to extreme events? This question takes on growing importance as climate change increases the frequency of droughts, floods, heat waves, wildfires, and severe storms. Emergency events like these often require local officials to make decisions that trade off short-term risk reduction against longer-term political costs. Policies that promote community-wide safety and resilience may face opposition because they restrict resource use or otherwise limit personal activities. Using data on the adoption of local water usage restrictions during the 2010–2013 Texas drought, we examine the balance between political and problem-driven incentives for local emergency response. We find that problem conditions and institutional capacity of water systems outweigh political interests in shaping the timing of policy response.
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