Origin and Growth of Federal Reserve Water Rights

by John W. Bird, (F.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Civ. Engrg. Dept., Univ. of Nevada, Reno, Nev. 89557,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 1, Pg. 11-24

Document Type: Journal Paper


The historical development of Federal reserved water rights, of interest to all who are involved in water-resource planning or use, is presented. The Federal reserved rights are those that are reserved in fact or by implication in Federal treaties, reservations, acts, or actions. Federal actions include flood-control projects and navigation improvement. The courts of the United States have developed and promulgated a system of Federal reserved water rights that can be traced from about 1850 to existing suits on water resources. A determination of Federal water rights is necessary for state water-resource planning and allocation.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Federal government | Water rights | Agreements and treaties | Floods | Navigation (geomatic) | Legal affairs | United States

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