Water Rights Policy Recommendations

Water Rights Policy Recommendations

These recommendations are published by the Water Systems Council

Policy Recommendations

1. Groundwater law—whether federal or state—should take into account the greater impact on groundwater resources of demands of large volume users compared to usage by household or smaller capacity wells. Any restrictions on groundwater usage should recognize these differences.

2. States that continue to adhere to the English rule should be encouraged to adopt a Reasonable Use or Correlative Rights approach to groundwater management. These approaches balance the individual rights of landowners with those of other users of the same aquifer. At the same time, these doctrines promote the most efficient use of a vital natural resource.

3. States, through their legislatures or their courts, should make a definitive, modern pronouncement regarding which doctrine(s) is currently being followed in their state. Such a pronouncement would provide clarity and predictability in those states whose sole pronouncement on the issue of groundwater rights is common law judicial decisions from the late 19th or early 20th centuries.

4. State pronouncements of water rights should incorporate respect for the private property rights inherent in the right to use the water.

5. Restrictions on individual well owners should be implemented only as a last resort and supported by proof of “imminent” depletion or contamination of the groundwater source.

6. States that share common underground water sources should develop a regionalized approach to water ownership issues to ensure equity


Please see page 2 of the pdf download available here:  https://www.watersystemscouncil.org/resources/who-owns-the-water/



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