The Law of Interbasin Water Transfers in the East

by Robert H. Abrams, Wayne State Univ, Detroit, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Resources Planning and Management and Urban Water Resources

Abstract: Interbasin transfers are becoming a vital source of water supply in the eastern United States. The current governing water law, the common law of riparian rights, does not address interbasin transfers in a helpful way. Riparianism is too much concerned with making narrow, case-specific adjustments of competing uses and is too little grounded in larger principles of water allocation policy. Typical contemporary interbasin transfer cases, such as the efforts of Virginia Beach to import water from the Roanoke River system exemplify this problem. The uncertainty of right, and the absence of a forum in which to make water allocations leads to a fragmented and expensive decisional process that does not serve as an effective water management system.

Subject Headings: Basins | Water rights | Riparian water | Water resources | Water supply systems | Water policy | Laws | North America | United States | Virginia | Roanoke

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