An Understanding Of The Notion Of Water Rights

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An understanding of the notion of “water rights” in the eastern part of the United States is supported by two key questions (a) What can I do? (b) What can someone else do? Riparian ‘s have certain rights - (1) right to continued natural flow of water in largely same quality and quantity; (2) right to make “reasonable use” of water, subject to the equal rights of other riparian’s on the same water body. Thus, a possessory right subject to the usafructory rights of other riparian’s. This paper argues that while it might have been okay to have a general doctrine of "reasonableness", that this might be too broad given greater demands/uses in riparian states, plus changing climatic conditions. The alteration of regional hydrology by climate…show more content…
Beyond this, the owner may use the water for "reasonable" artificial or commercial purposes, subject to the very large proviso that he may not substantially or materially diminish the quantity or quality of water. Certainly no water may be transported to land beyond the riparian land. With the advancement of commercial development, many states moved away from the doctrine to the “American rule” or “reasonable use” doctrine. A Pennsylvania court ruled that a mine operator could dewater and lower water tables throughout an entire valley, with no responsibility for injuries to owners of domestic wells whose supply was thereby cut off Classification of water: It is considered by scientist, that all ground and surface waters are deemed to have hydrological connection, and characterized as: (a) surface water; (b) diffused surface water; (c) groundwater; (d) percolating groundwater. In governing the use of water, various rules and regulations have been developed for each classification. According to one commentator: Man has coped with the complexity of water by trying to compartmentalize it, …the legal profession … has on occasion borrowed from the criminal code to term some waters “fugitive” and others a “common enemy.” The classification of water includes “percolating waters,” “defined underground streams,” “underflow of surface streams,”
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