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Water Rights for Rainwater Harvesting

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Although rain falls freely from the sky, it may not be freely available to capture by anyone desiring to install harvesting devices on their property. The reason for a limitation is dependent on the legal framework for water use and the situation with existing users. In the east, a riparian process of allocation provides water to land owners having access to the water. In the west, a prior appropriation process allocates water rights to users that first claim the use. As a result the primary concern for legal limitations is the west, however, a site specific and watershed-wide evaluation is needed to understand the situation and determine who has the right to capture and use rainwater. This paper provides a discussion of these issues, presents several real world scenarios on how water rights are handled, and provides a summary with conclusions.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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