Development of a Model Water Code for a Riparian-Doctrine State

by William E. Cox, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

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


Model water codes typically are developed for implementation through an administrative water-use permitting program. In order to adopt a model code in this form, a riparian-doctrine state generally must abandon its judicially administered system. Several states have undertaken this major institutional modification, and other states likely will take such action in the future. However, the utility of a model code potentially could be increased by inclusion of alternative provisions for improving the operation of the riparian doctrine rather than replacing it. The paper examines this possibility and concludes that increased implementation flexibility is achievable without sacrificing the usefulness of a model code as a replacement for the riparian doctrine.

Subject Headings: Riparian water | Hydrologic models | Standards and codes | Water resources | Water supply | Rivers and streams | Permits | State government

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