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Social and Legal Issues

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Regulating Water Quality - Policy Standards and Laws

USDA. NAL. Water and Agriculture Information Center.

"Water quality standards (WQS) are provisions of state, territorial, authorized tribal or federal law approved by EPA that describe the desired condition of a water body and the means by which that condition will be protected or achieved. Water bodies can be used for purposes such as recreation (e.g. swimming and boating), scenic enjoyment, and fishing, and are the home to many aquatic organisms. To protect human health and aquatic life in these waters, states, territories and authorized tribes establish WQS. WQS form a legal basis for controlling pollutants entering the waters of the United States." (Environmental Protection Agency)
Dynamic search of NAL's databases for citations on regulating water quality as it relates to policy standards and laws.

PubAg:  Articles


Attitudes Toward Water Resources

USDA. NAL. Water and Agriculture Information Center.

"Water pollution is the environmental issue that most concerns Americans. According to the GSS, about 79% of Americans in 2016 said they thought water pollution was 'extremely' or 'very' dangerous to the environment; this proportion has grown since 1994, when the percentage was 61% (66% in 1993). Gallup (2017) also found that water issues were the environmental topics that most concerned Americans. About 61% of Americans expressed a “great deal” of worry about drinking-water pollution in 2016, and 63% expressed this level of worry in 2017. In 2016 and 2017, respectively, about 56% and 57% of Americans reported similar levels of worry about pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs." National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators 2018.


Dynamic search of NAL databases for citations on attitudes toward water resources. 

PubAg:  Articles

Navigator:  Books (Filter for Publication Types = Books in left pane menu on results page)

Cornell University. Law School. Legal Information Institute.

Provides access to federal environmental statutes, the Code of Federal Regulations and links to state statutes and regulations.

Environmental Protection Agency.

Offers access to the daily table of contents for the Federal Register, selected Federal Register documents, the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations and proposed rules.


Provides a list of laws and regulations governing U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) activities, covering environmental, wildlife, remote sensing, etc.

University of Arkansas. School of Law.

"The website is a clearinghouse for legal information that spans nearly four dozen agricultural and food law topics both in the United States and around the world." See especially the Water Law section.  The center and the National Agricultural Library are cooperating organizations.

Department of the Treasury. Internal Revenue Service.

Explains different tax topics relating to agriculture practices, financial resources, foreign workers, etc.

Environmental Protection Agency.

Offers information about environmental requirements that affect the agricultural community. Key topics include water, sustainability, pesticides, and health and safety.

Environmental Protection Agency.

Several international agreements may affect U.S. hazardous waste import and export practices. These include the Basel Convention, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Council Decision, and bilateral agreements between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The United States participates in a legally binding agreement with OECD members governing transboundary movements of waste for recovery purposes.