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View Diary: World's Gettin' Hot - "Got Water?" The Idiocy of Water Law (44 comments)

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  •  For a future diary, I'm interested in water (15+ / 0-)

    quality issues.  If someone upstream (e.g. a mine) pollutes the water that is then needed by a city downstream, is that considered a taking even if the mine has put water (plus arsenic and other deadlies) back into the stream?

    I'm looking forward to your series not just because I live in Colorado (and paid attention to the seniority of water rights when I chose to live in Denver) but also because I've got a natural resources background including a course in environmental law.  This series, of course, can be volumes long.  

    Other topics you might think about including:

    The restrictions attempted on people who wanted to use runoff from their roofs in rainbarrels.  I pay a tax in Denver based upon the amount of hard surface vs. overall lot size - the more of my lot that is paved over, I think the lower the tax as the water runs off and returns flow to streams.

    The Colorado River compact that made the development of the desert downstream possible, but also has recently come back up (can't recall if it was renewed or changed) for regulation now that the Colorado river flow is lower by a lot.

    You might enlist Frankenoid for one of her Saturday Morning Garden Blog columns for xeriscaping.  I have a lot of grass and while I'm not close to pulling up all the grass, ideas would be welcome to somehow lessen my impact.

    •  Additional topics: (10+ / 0-)

      Speculation that the purchase of Bush's retreat in South America was done with the purpose of ensuring he never has water rights issues (I think the land is on top of a huge aquifer or is upslope from every other user) with the added benefit of being a non-extradition treaty country.

      How the (now second-to-last) James Bond movie was about a corporation's attempt to corner the market on water in a South American country so as to make billions of dollars from people without a choice.

      Fights over conflicting use of streams - those who want to raft/kayak/fish/swim vs. those who insist on their right to remove water from the rivers and streams for irrigation.  You briefly touched on this in the diary where you mentioned being able to purchase rights and leave them in the streams.

      •  You make some really good/interesting points: (12+ / 0-)

        I think you know much more on many topics here than I do, but you have been so interesting in your attention that I do want to address a few.

        In-stream rights -  - you are correct, nowadays, through statutes, groups such as the Sierra Club and the Riverkeepers purchase water rights and are allowed (in some jurisdictions) to keep the water "in stream" b/c that is how they want to use it.  This would NOT be allowed by "classic" water law, but is enabled by statutes in some jurisdictions.

        Ground Water - - This subject is near and dear to my heart b/c I rep'd some HUGE (biggest in the world) trout farms that used water from springs in the aquifer to raise their trout.  These "spring rights" were very very valuable b/c they were the oldest, obviously fresh clear water that is pushing itself up into the land would be the first to be grabbed up.  So, obviously you have the right to shut down anyone depleting it, right???

        Yeah, sort of.  On our aquifer there were 250,000 ground water users, every one of whom is somewhat responsible for your spring drying up.  So, what do you do?  Do what we did, sue all of them and demand that they stop using until your springs come up.  Harsh?  Only if you think destroying the regions economy is a bad thing.

        And yet we HAD to do something and ultimately the political will of 250,000 people could not stand up to the banks/corporate interests who NEED to see the law upheld to have any faith in your economy.  Ultimately, of course, we did not shut them down, we simply made them pay us millions and develop engineering practices near us that kept ground water more stable near our springs.

        What a country!!!

        Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

        by 4CasandChlo on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:59:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  OMG! I had no idea that it was that regulated (9+ / 0-)

      In Denver!  I am serious.

      I was always concerning myself with quaint simple users like Idaho Power, the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, the Nez Pierce Tribe. . .

      I would love to hear more about YOUR experiences.

      Oh, and also, water quality issues are federal law under the Clean Water Act and actually are totally separate legal doctine from ownership of a water right. . . but I would be happy to get into the CWA later.

      Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

      by 4CasandChlo on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:40:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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