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Encyclopedia > Water law
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Water law is the field of law dealing with the ownership, control, and use of water as a resource. It is most closely related to property law, but has also become influenced by environmental law. Because water is vital to living things and to a variety of economic activities, laws attempting to govern it have far-reaching effects. Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Environmental law is a body of law, which is a system of complex and interlocking statutes, common law, treaties, conventions, regulations and policies which seeks to protect the natural environment which may be affected, impacted or endangered by human activities. ...

Water has unique features that make it difficult to regulate using laws designed mainly for land. Water is mobile, its supply varies by year and season as well as location, and it can be used simultaneously by many users. As with property (land) law, water rights can be described as a "bundle of sticks" containing multiple, separable activities that can have varying levels of regulation. For instance, some uses of water divert it from its natural course but return most or all of it (eg. hydroelectric plants), while others consume much of what they take (especially agriculture), and still others use water without diverting it at all (eg. boating). Each type of activity has its own needs and can in theory be regulated separately. There are several types of conflict likely to arise: absolute shortages; shortages in a particular time or place; diversions of water that reduce the flow available to others; pollutants or other changes (such as temperature or turbidity) that render water unfit for others' use; and the need to maintain "in-stream flows" of water to protect the natural ecosystem. Hydroelectricity is electricity produced by hydropower. ... // Boating, the leisurely activity of traveling by boat typically refers to the recreational use of boats whether power boats, sail boats, or yachts (large vessels), focused on the travel itself, as well as sports activities, such as fishing or waterskiing. ... Turbidity standards of 5, 50, and 500 NTU Turbidity is a cloudiness or haziness of a fluid, or of air, caused by individual particles (suspended solids) that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in air. ... For other uses, see Ecological Systems Theory. ...

One theory of history, put forward in the influential book Oriental Despotism, holds that many empires were organized around a central authority that controlled a population through monopolizing the water supply. Such a hydraulic empire creates the potential for despotism, and serves as a cautionary tale for designing water regulations. A hydraulic empire (also known as a hydraulic despotism or a water monopoly empire) arises through the need for flood control and irrigation, which requires central coordination and gives rise to a specialized bureaucracy. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ...

Water law involves controversy in some parts of the world where a growing population faces increasing competition over a limited natural supply. Disputes over rivers, lakes and underground aquifers cross national borders. Although water law is still regulated mainly by individual countries, there are international sets of proposed rules such as the Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers and the Hague Declaration on Water Security in the 21st Century. For the Second World War frigate class, see River class frigate The Murray River in Australia A waterfall on the Ova da Fedoz, Switzerland A river is a large natural waterway. ... Lake Clearwater, Ontario, Canada A lake is a large body of water, usually fresh water, surrounded by land. ... An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, or permeable mixtures of unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, silt, or clay) (see also groundwater). ...

Long-term issues in water law include the possible effects of global warming on rainfall patterns and evaporation; the availability and cost of desalination technology; the control of pollution, and the growth of aquaculture. Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earths near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. ... Shevchenko BN350 desalination unit situated on the shore of the Caspian Sea. ... Air pollution Pollution is the introduction of pollutants (whether chemical substances, or energy such as noise, heat, or light) into the environment to such a point that its effects become harmful to human health, other living organisms, or the environment. ... Workers harvest catfish from the Delta Pride Catfish farms in Mississippi Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic organisms. ...


Water law in the United States

In the United States there are complex legal systems for allocating water rights that vary by region. These varying systems exist for both historical and geographic reasons. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

Riparian Rights

The Eastern states (all those east of Texas, except Mississippi), follow the riparian doctrine, which permits anyone whose land has frontage on a body of water to use water from it. These states were the first settled by Europeans (and therefore most influenced by English law) and have the most available water. This article is about the U.S. state. ... Riparian water rights (or simply riparian rights) is a system of allocating water among those who possess land about its source. ...

Prior Appropriation

Most western states, naturally drier, generally follow the prior appropriation doctrine, which gives a water right to whoever first puts water to beneficial use. Colorado water law is generally looked to as authority by other Western states that follow the prior appropriation doctrine. Water law in the western United States is defined by state constitutions (i.e. Colorado, New Mexico) statutes, and case law. Each state exhibits variations upon the basic principles of the prior appropriation doctrine. Texas and the states directly north of it; the West Coast states, and Mississippi have a mixture of systems. Hawaii uses a form of riparian rights, and Alaska uses appropriation-based rights. Prior appropriation water rights, sometimes known as the Colorado Doctrine, is a system of allocating water from a water source that is markedly different from Riparian water rights. ... Official language(s) English Demonym Coloradan Capital Denver Largest city Denver Largest metro area Denver-Aurora Metro Area Area  Ranked 8th in the US  - Total 104,185 sq mi (269,837 km²)  - Width 280 miles (451 km)  - Length 380 miles (612 km)  - % water 0. ... Official language(s) None Spoken language(s) English 68. ... For other uses, see Texas (disambiguation). ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... For other uses, see Alaska (disambiguation). ...

In some states Surface water, lakes, rivers, and springs, is treated differently from ground water underground water extracted by drilling wells; however, In other states surface and ground water are managed conjunctively. For example, in New Mexico, surface and ground water have been managed together since the 1950s. This trend comes from a growing scientific understanding of the formerly mysterious behavior of underground water systems. For instance, gradual contamination of some water supplies with salt has been explained with the knowledge that drawing water from a well creates a gradual seepage into the well area, potentially contaminating it and surrounding areas with seawater from a nearby coast. Such knowledge is useful for understanding the effects of human activity on water supplies but can also create new sources of conflict. Surface water is water on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, sea or ocean; as opposed to groundwater. ... Groundwater is any water found below the land surface. ... Village pump redirects here, for information on Wikipedia project-related discussions, see Wikipedia:Village pump. ...

A variety of federal, state, and local laws govern water rights. One issue unique to America is the law of water with respect to American Indians. A Sioux in traditional dress including war bonnet, about 1908 Native Americans â€“ also Indians, American Indians, First Nations, First Peoples, Indigenous Peoples of America, Aboriginal Peoples, Aboriginal Americans, Amerindians, Amerind, Native Canadians (or of other nations) â€“ are those peoples indigenous to the Americas, living there prior to European colonization and...

Major Legal Cases in American Water Law

Significant cases in Washington State

Water law in the European Union

For countries within the European Union, water-related directives are important for water resource management and environmental and water quality standards. Key directives include the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive 1992 [1] (requiring most towns and cities to treat their wastewater to specified standards), and the Water Framework Directive 2000, which requires water resource plans based on river basins, including public participation based on Aarhus Convention principles. See Watertime — the international context, Section 2. A directive is a legislative act of the European Union which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result. ... Water resources are sources of water that are useful to human beings for drinking, recreation, irrigation, livestock production, industry, etc. ... Water quality is the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water, characterized through the methods of hydrometry. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For the term related to television programmes, see watershed (television). ... In administrative rulemaking, public participation refers to the process by which proposed rules are subject to public comment for a specified period of time. ... The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, usually known as the Aarhus Convention, was signed on June 25, 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus. ...

Further reading

  • George Vranesh, Colorado Water Law. Revised Edition, University Press of Colorado (2000), ISBN 0-87081-543-1, 2003 supplement (March, 2004), ISBN 0-87081-755-8
  • Washington Office of Attorney General. "An Introduction to Washington Water Law."


  • Hildering, A. (2004), International Law, Sustainable Development and Water Management, Eburon Academic Publishers, Delft, The Netherlands, 2004 [2]
  • International Law Association Water Resources Committee (2004), Final Report presented at the Association's 2004 Conference in Berlin [3]
  • UNEP (2002), Vital Water Graphics — An Overview of the State of the World's Fresh and Marine Waters. UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya. [4]
  • Sax, J. L., et al.. Legal Control of Water Resources: Cases and Materials (4th edition). Thomson/West (2006), ISBN-13 978-0-314-16314-1; ISBN-10 0-314016314-X.

See also

Water Portal

Image File history File links Drinking_water. ... For Clean Water Act of Ontario, Canada, see Clean Water Act (Ontario). ... Tap water Mineral Water Drinking water is water that is intended to be ingested through drinking by humans. ... Food safety is a scientific discipline describing the handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent Foodborne illness. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Water Rights Law -- Prior Appropriation (1752 words)
Water rights are treated similarly to rights to real property, can be conveyed, mortgaged, and encumbered in the same manner, all independently of the land on which the water originates, or on which it is used.
The use of water in many of the states in the western U.S. is governed by the doctrine of prior appropriation, also known as the "Colorado Doctrine" of water law.
The laws of several of the western states provide for replacement plans which are schemes to balance new uses of water with the dedication of other existing water rights to the stream, so that the stream, as a whole, suffers no net decrease.
Water law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (957 words)
Water law is the field of law dealing with the ownership, control, and use of water as a resource.
Although water law is still regulated mainly by individual countries, there are international sets of proposed rules such as the Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers and the Hague Declaration on Water Security in the 21st Century.
Water law in the western United States is a creature of statute, case law and geography.
  More results at FactBites »



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