Water Rights for Rainwater Harvesting
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.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2012-01-01
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