Convergence and Divergence Between Regulated Riparian and Prior Appropriation Provisions in the ASCE Model State Water Rights Code

by Ray Jay Davis, (A.M.ASCE), Brigham Young Univ, Provo, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Policy and Management: Solving the Problems


Although there are two major American water rights systems-- riparian and prior appropriation--there are mixed systems and variations within each major type. The ASCE Model State Water Rights Code is an effort toward unifying state water law. The systems converge in it in the following respects: in adopting states a permit to use water is required; use is allowed on non-riparian lands; instream flows are protected; transfers are supported; and unused water rights may be forfeited. But divergences between the systems remain: the water use right is not the same kind of property interest in both; the measure of allowable water use is 'reasonable' in regulated riparian states and 'beneficial' in appropriation; water shortages are managed differently; and there are optional provisions which may be adopted only in some states.

Subject Headings: Water shortage | Water use | Convergence (mathematics) | Riparian water | Hydrologic models | Water rights | Standards and codes | Water supply systems

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