Implications of Water Rights for Engineers

by Robert H. Marquis,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1966, Vol. 92, Issue 1, Pg. 49-54

Document Type: Journal Paper


Water and water rights laws may have implications for engineers in connection with any project that affects water or will be affected by it. Such laws reflect the diverse interests of the federal government, states, municipalities, and private parties. Conflicts among these interests must be resolved in the light of complex constitutional, statutory, and common law principles. Applicable legal rules may affect the economic feasibility of a project in several ways. The feasibility of a federal project may depend in part on whether adversely affected private water rights will have to be paid for. In the case of a private project, compensation for such rights will generally be required. In addition, various types of licenses, permits and other rights may have to be obtained, and this should be done promptly to avoid possible additional or useless planning and construction costs. Engineers can serve their clients or employers by recognizing the possibility of legal problems and advising that timely legal counsel be obtained to solve them.

Subject Headings: Water rights | Federal government | Laws | Local government | Feasibility studies | State government | Dispute resolution | Economic factors

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