The Basics of Water Law and Its Relationship to Agriculture

Sponsored by the Agricultural and Food Law Consortium

Topic:JJR 2013

This webinar discusses the basics of water law in the United States, discussing both the basic framework in the West and the basic framework in the East. Policies and exceptions that are particularly important to agriculture, such as exempt wells in the West and regulated riparianism in the East, are explained. Finally, miscellaneous issues that may arise in the agricultural context are explored.


This webinar was recorded on July 19, 2017.  To listen to a recording of the webinar, please click here.


JESSE J. RICHARDSON, JR. is a Professor of Law and the Lead Land Use Attorney at the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law. Before coming to WVU, Richardson was an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech. His research and experience focuses on land use law and water law. Jesse began his legal career in private practice in his home town of Winchester, Virginia, first with a large law firm, then as a solo practitioner.

He is the Past President of the American Agricultural Law Association and was honored with the 1999 Professional Scholarship Award from the American Agricultural Law Association, the 2004 William E. Wine Award for a history of teaching Excellence from Virginia Tech (the highest teaching award granted by the university), and the 2009 University Certificate of Excellence in Outreach. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Research & Materials:

Powerpoint Presentation

Water Rights Tables

Exempt Wells and Agriculture (Richardson & Aloi)

Who Owns the Water? (Updated by Richardson, 2016)

Agricultural Preferences in Eastern Water Allocation States (Richardson)

You Can Lead Livestock to Water: A Survey of Exempt Livestock Wells in the West (Dowell)