Lunacy, Legerdemain or Levitation: Legal Assessment of the ASCE Model Water Code

by Ray Jay Davis, Brigham Young Univ, Provo, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Resources Planning and Management: Saving a Threatened Resource—In Search of Solutions

Abstract: The Water Laws Committee of the ASCE Water Resources Planning and Management Division established a Model State Water Code Task Committee in 1990 which has the task of preparing a text and commentary of a model water rights allocation and transfer code for adoption by the states. This bold initiative comes after other efforts have had only modest success. It could be regarded as lunacy in view of the balkanization of state water law and many policy incongruities among jurisdictions. But, by virtue of limiting the coverage of the code to water quantity and to state law, by attempting only modest reform, and by providing optional sections for state adoption, the draftsmen have finessed many of the problems, a feat of legerdemain. The result is anticipated to be a code that is complete within its established parameters, one that protects property rights and yet provides for flexible water resources management, one that lifts or levitates water rights allocation and transfer.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Water rights | Standards and codes | Hydrologic models | Resource management | Jurisdiction

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