Water Law


Overviewcontentphoto_waterlaw

Water is at the heart of agriculture. Without water, crops and livestock would not be able to survive. Water used in agricultural production can come from surface waters, such as rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds, or from groundwater, such as an aquifer. The allocation of this important resource is left up to each state, with very little federal intervention. Each state has its own regulatory system to allocate both the surface waters and the groundwater in the state.    Read the full overview

Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.


Major Statutes

Federal Statutes

Desert Lands Act of 1877, 43 U.S.C. §§ 321 – 339
Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 791a – 823d
Federal Water Pollution Control Act (a/k/a Clean Water Act), 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251 – 1387
Flood Control Acts, 33 U.S.C. §§ 701 – 709b
McCarran Amendment, 43 U.S.C. § 666
Mining Act of 1866, 30 U.S.C. §§ 21 – 54
Reclamation Act of 1902, 43 U.S.C. §§ 371 – 390h-20
Reclamation Reform Act of 1982, 43 U.S.C. §§ 390aa – 390zz-1
Safe Drinking Water Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 300f – 300j-26
Water Resources Development Acts, 33 U.S.C. §§ 2201 – 2339
Water Resources Research Act of 1984, 42 U.S.C. §§ 10301 – 10309


State Constitutions

Alaska Const. art. VIII, § 13
Arizona Const. art. XVII, §§ 1-2
California Const art. X, §§ 1-7
Colorado Const. art. XVI, §§ 5-8
Idaho Const. art. XV, §§ 1-7
Montana Const. art. IX, § 3
Nebraska Const. art. XV, §§ 4-7
New Mexico Const. art. XVI, §§ 1-6
Wyoming Const. art. VIII, §§ 1-5

Compilation of States’ Water Law Statutes


Regulations

Bureau of Reclamation Regulations, 43 C.F.R. Parts 402-999
Conservation of Power and Water Resources , 18 CFR 18
Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance , 75 Fed. Reg. at 52,117
Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packaging, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption, , 21 CFR Part 112, Subpart E (agricultural water)
General Program Requirements , 40 CFR Part 144 
Treatment of Indian Tribes in a Similar Manner as States for Purposes of Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, 40 CFR Part 130
National Primary Drinking Water Regulations Implementation , 40 CFR Part 142
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES): Application and Program Updates, 40 CFR Parts 122, 124, and 125
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System , 40 CFR Part 122

Case Law

Case Law Index for Water Law


Center Research Publications

Water Rights Table, (Richardson and Aloi, 2017)

State Listings: Water Law Offices (Goeringer and Boyd, 2009)

Exempt Wells and Agriculture (Richardson and Aloi, 2017)

How the Concept of Navigability May Determine the Rights of Landowners Along Streams (Looney, 2002)


Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017

Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Environmental Issues
Water Resources
Public Lands


Agricultural Law Bibliography

Introduction   |   Keyword Search   |   Browse Categories

Legal publications on Water Law:

Aquaculture
Environmental Issues
Land Use Regulation
Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides, Fungicides, Fertilizers
Public Lands
Water Rights: Agriculturally Related


Reference Resources

Department of Energy (DOE)

WaterBest Management Practices for Water Efficiency

Water Evaluation Data Tool

Rainwater Availability Mapn

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Irrigation and Water Use
Water and Wetland Resources: AREI, 2006 Edition


National Agriculture Library
 (NAL)

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center- Water Conservation
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center — Water Saving Irrigation Techniques
Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) Bibliographies
Water and Agriculture Information Center (WAIC)


National Resource Conservation Service
 (NRCS)

Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP)
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Irrigation Page
National Water & Climate Center
National Water Management Center
Snow Survey & Water Supply Forecasting Programs
Water Quality
Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention
Wetlands Reserve Program
Rural Development
Water and Environmental Programs


Department of Energy
 (DOE)

Water
Best Management Practices for Water Efficiency
Water Evaluation Data Tool
Rainwater Availability Map
Water Management
Hydropower

Department of the Interior (DOI)

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Water Resources and Floodplains
Fisheries and Aquatics
Water
Soil, Water, and Air Program Highlights (2015)
Water Resource Program Strategy (2015-2020)

Bureau of Reclamation (USBR)

Water Operations
AgriMet
USBR Reclamation Manual
Water Conservation Field Services Program

National Park Service

Groundwater
Water Rights
Water Quantity
Colorado River Management Agreement

U.S. Geological Society (USGS)

Water Resources Publications
National Irrigation Water Quality Program
National Atlas: Water Use in the United States
Water Resources of the U.S.
Water Resources Glossaries
Water Basics Glossary
Hydrologic Definitions
National Water Quality Assessment Glossary
Glossary of Water-Quality Monitoring Terms
Water Resources Data – Definition of Terms
Glossary of Water-Sse Terminology
Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 1990
A-Z Index of Hydrologic Terms


Environmental Protection Agency
 (EPA)

Ground Water Rule, Drinking Water Requirements for State and Public Water Systems
Underground Injection Control Regulations and Safe Drinking Water Act ProvisionsProtect Sources of Drinking Water, Source Water Protection
Clean Water Act, summary
Clean Water Act Compliance Monitoring, Compliance
Impaired Waters and TMDLs: Statutes and Regulations, Impaired Waters and TMDLs
Guidance for 1994 Section 303(d) Lists, Impaired Waters and TMDLs
Integrated Reporting Guidance, Impaired Waters and TMDLs
Water Quality Standards: Regulations and Resources, Surface Water: Lakes, Rivers, and Streams
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
NPDES Program Areas
319 Grant Program for States and Territories, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
NPDES Program Management and Oversight, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
NPDES Stormwater Program, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
Stormwater Discharges From Industrial Activities, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
Sanitary Sewer Overflow, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
Combined Sewer Overflows, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
National Menu of Best Management Practices For Stormwater, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

Biosolids
Drinking Water
Ground Water
Hydraulic Fracturing
Impaired Waters
Mercury
Mountaintop Mining
Oceans and Coastal Waters
Surface Coal Mining in Appalachia
Surface Water: Lakes, Rivers, and Streams
Stormwater
Wastewater
Watersheds
Wetlands

Animal Feeding Operations
Terms of Environment Glossary

United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

Institute for Water Resources (IWR)
Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC)
WRDA 2018 Implementation Guidance

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

Water Availability and Watershed Management

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Irrigated Agriculture in the United States
Irrigation and Water Use
Water and Wetland Resources: AREI, 2006 Edition

Forest Service (FS)

Watershed
Fisheries
Climate Change Resource Center
Watershed Condition Framework
Riparian Restoration and Wetlands Management
Groundwater Program
Groundwater Publications

National Agriculture Library(NAL)

Water Resources
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center –  Water Conservation Alternative Farming Systems Information Center — Water Saving Irrigation Techniques
Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) Bibliographies Water and Agriculture Information Center (WAIC)


National Resource Conservation Service
(NRCS)

Water Management Models
West National Technology Support Center (WNTSC)
Hydrology & Hydraulics
Irrigation
Water Supply Forecasts (NWCC)
Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP)
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Irrigation Page
National Water & Climate Center (NWCC)
National Water Management Center (NWMC)
Snow Survey & Water Supply Forecasting Programs
Water Quality
Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention
Wetlands Reserve Program

Rural Development

Water and Environmental Programs
Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program

Congressional Resources

House Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 
Subcommittee on Water and Power

International Resources

Integrated Water Resources Management (United Nations)
Water Management (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)
World Water Reserve
International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM)
Water Resources Management (World Bank)
International Water Association
UNESCO Water Resources Centre
International Boundary & Water Commission (IBWC)
Water Law and Standards (United Nations)

Publications

The Water Resources Utility of the Future (NACWA)
The Evolving Federal Role in Support of Water Resources Research(National Research Council 2004)
Regulatory Frameworks for Water Resources Management (Salman and Bradlow 2006)
National Watershed Program Manual (NWMC)
Selected Federal Water Activities: Agencies, Authorities, and Congressional Committees (Congressional Research Service 2017)
Aspects of Governing Water Allocation in the U.S. (IWR)
Whose Water is it Anyway? Comparing the Water Rights Frameworks of AR, OK, TX, NM, GA, AL, and FL (OSU Extension 2017)
Access to Efficiency: Water & Prior Appropriation (National Farmers Union 2017)
Water Rights in Montana: An Overview (MSO Extension 2017)
ND Water Laws (NDSU)
National Fish and Aquatic Strategy (USFS)
The Federal Role in Water Resource Management (Huffman 2008)
Water Appropriations Systems and State Programs (Freshwater.org)
The Water Underground: Implications for Agriculture and Opportunities for Change (Freshwater.org)
An Overview of Pennsylvania Water Law (Caccese 2018)
Legal Challenges in Government Imposition of Water Conservation: The Kansas Example (Peck 2014)
Water Conservation in Irrigated Agriculture(ERS 2012)
Addressing the Prior Appropriation Doctrine in the Shadow of Climate Change and the Paris Climate Agreement (Schilling 2018)
Water Use and Pricing in Agriculture(ERS)
National Watershed Management Center Factsheet (NWMC)
National Watershed Program Handbook (NWMC)
Ecological Considerations in Spring Development(NRCS)
Water Priorities for the Nation (USGS 2019)
Director’s Order: Special Park Uses (NPS 2010)
Domestic Water Well Exemption in the Western United States (NGWA 2017)
Groundwater and Agriculture (NGWA 2017)
Managed Aquifer Recharge: A Water Supply Management Tool (NGWA 2017)
Groundwater Information Sheets (NGWA)
Declaration of the Global Importance of Groundwater (NGWA 2017)
Implementing Instructions: Federal Agency Implementation of Water Efficiency and Management Provisions of EO 13514 (CEQ 2013)
Federal Role in Groundwater Supply (Congresional Research Service 2018)
Guidelines for Water Reuse (EPA 2012)
Overview of State Groundwater Programs (EPA)
The Concept of Reasonable Beneficial Use and the Law of Surface Streams (Trelease 2018)
Groundwater Law (Water Education Foundation)
Appropriative Rights (Water Education Foundation)
Study of Issues Related to State Jurisdiction Over Water Rights (Utah DNR 2013)
Water Rights in Arkansas (UofA Public Policy Center)
Environmental Water Rights Transfers (Water in the West 2015)
A Guide to Water Quality Requirements Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (Water in the West 2019)
Water Finance: The Imperative for Water Security and Economic Growth (Water in the West 2018)
Establishing a Collaborative National Ground-Water Monitoring Network Program for the United States (ACWI 2013)
Adjudicating Groundwater: A Judge’s Guide to Understanding Groundwater and Modeling (The National Judicial College)
Connecticut’s Evolving Views of Riparian Rights and the Public Trust (McAllister 2018)
Riparian Rights in Appropriation States (Foster 2018)
Riparian Rights (Water Education)
Who Owns the Water? A Summary of Existing Water Rights Laws (Water Systems Council 2016)
Surface and Groundwater Regulation (Hill & Aldredge, 2016)
Marketing Groundwater Rights (McCarthy, 2016)

Additional Resources

American Water Resources Association (AWRA)
National Water Resources Association (NWRA)
Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI)
National Water Quality Monitoring Center
Water Research Foundation
Freshwater.org
American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE)
National Environmental Services Center (NESC)
Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR)
US Water Alliance
American Water Works Association
National Association of Clean Water Agencies(NACWA)
Master Water Stewards

Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI)
Water Education Foundation
Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR)
California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS)
Water Environment Federation

National Groundwater Association (NGWA)
Water Footprint Network

Water Encyclopedia
IRWA Webinars

Water Education Foundation
Water in the West (Stanford)
Dividing the Waters: A Resource for Judges Resolving Water Conflicts
Wyoming Water Law – A Summary (State Engineer)
Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law & Policy
Water Law in Arkansas (Arkansas Natural Resources Commission)
Water Rights in Montana (Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, 2014)
Wisconsin Water Law (Kent & Dubiak)
Wyoming Water Law – A Summary (State Engineer)
Compilation of Water Organizations (Goeringer & Boyd)