Michigan, like many other states, is concerned that current ground water regulations are not adequate for addressing increasing demands placed upon the state’s aquifers and is currently revising its ground water policies. In order to identify components of effective ground water policies, we interviewed (via telephone) 70 ground water experts in 20 regulated riparian states which have a history of managing ground water within a riparian doctrine. Our respondents were from agencies, extension, universities, water resource institutes, and special interest groups, as well as legislators. Our sample includes experts who were involved in policy design as well as experts who work with ground water regulations on a daily basis. The questions in our semi-structured interview and the analysis were guided by an economic criteria framework for evaluating effective policy instruments. The findings from this project provide advice for water policy design based upon extensive experience.