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Federal Reserved Water Rights

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The following excerpts are from court cases in which "federal reserved water rights" have been defined.  The basic concept is that when the federal government designated federal land for particular purposes, there was an implied reservation of water rights adequate to fulfill the designated purpose for the land.  These reserved water rights have been defined as having priority of water rights administered by the states, including water rights the states have assigned to private individuals.  Accordingly, water uses based on state allocations may need to be altered if the federal land needs additional water at this time to fulfill the designated purpose of the land.

Last updated July 1, 2005

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July 11, 2005