Author Topic: Riparian Rights  (Read 2910 times)

Offline punatic

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Riparian Rights
« on: January 13, 2012, 02:53:10 PM »
Living here in Hawaii, using rainwater catchment for household water is often the only way.  The municipal water infrastucture is just not there.  Lucky thing that the water in Hawaii belongs to all of the people of Hawaii.

It seems that is not the case everywhere.

Riparian Rights
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Offline denny

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2012, 03:44:17 PM »
I can see both sides of the issue.  In a way, it's like the laws that keep me from diverting the water in the river on the land I won for my own use.  If I do that, the people downstream are screwed.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2012, 03:58:56 PM »
I kind of see it too Denny, but I think there's a big difference between a river and rain. 
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2012, 04:16:07 PM »
I kind of see it too Denny, but I think there's a big difference between a river and rain. 

I don't know if I'd go as far as "big" difference.  If you collect rain, you;re depriving someone else of the runoff from that rain.  But I do think it's more of a philosophical than practical argument.
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Offline pinnah

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2012, 04:31:33 PM »
Water rights in the arid intermountain west are fiercely protected.
And as increased demand is placed on a very limited resource, the fight over western water will only get worse.

Colorado exempts households and home use, which I think is great, and encourages wise and sustainable use at a homestead scale.

The extrapolation of the issue and its connection to "diminishing freedom and increased government control" and urging folks to "fight back against enslavement" is kind lame and inflammatory.  Besides, who is going to actually police home water harvest use?

Propaganda.  ::)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2012, 04:37:11 PM »
Western water law is a foreign concept to someone raised in the Eastern USA.  It is based on the rights of first use.  If the rancher's family used X acge feet when they homesteaded way back when on the river, that is what they are entitled to use forever.  That new town down steam takes what is left after all the prior claims.  That is the law.

Read a book titled Cadillac Desert, that is the best history of water in the west.

Chinatown was based on how LA got the water from the Owens Valley.
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Offline ibru

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2012, 04:41:04 PM »
Must be the irrigation district who own the water (I guess technically the Bureau of Reclaimation). That's who I paid almost $100/acre last month for my water this summer which it now looks like it will be very tight.

Bruce

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2012, 04:41:25 PM »
Man this is such a sticky issue. and difficult to discuss without getting political.

that being said...

I can see both sides of the issue.  In a way, it's like the laws that keep me from diverting the water in the river on the land I won for my own use.  If I do that, the people downstream are screwed.

Denny, you won your land? like in a lotto? cool!  ;D
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2012, 04:46:17 PM »
Denny, you won your land? like in a lotto? cool!  ;D

Card game. ;)

Which reminds me of the coolest story of how a town was named that I think I've ever heard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Show_Low,_Arizona
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Offline denny

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2012, 04:50:01 PM »
Denny, you won your land? like in a lotto? cool!  ;D

By now, you should know how bad my typing is!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2012, 05:16:25 PM »
I kind of see it too Denny, but I think there's a big difference between a river and rain. 

I don't know if I'd go as far as "big" difference.  If you collect rain, you;re depriving someone else of the runoff from that rain.  But I do think it's more of a philosophical than practical argument.
Maybe.  The big difference to me is in the volume.  Mathematically speaking, there's a pretty big difference.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2012, 05:56:18 PM »
I'm not sure about rainwater out here, since it never rains it's really not an issue but the state of NM does own all underground water.  A few years ago a company came up with an affordable way to treat produced water (salty and sulfury)from oil wells and turn it into drinking water.  The company got a permit to build a pilot plant but then the state announced that any water cleaned up would then belong to the state.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2012, 08:54:55 PM »
I had some time and the internet connection to read that article.  The author needs to do some historic research.  The catchment of water is unlawful, in that you can't build a dam on your property upstream and deny prior users with first rights of the water soenstream.  This was fought a long time ago in the courts, and the Western water. laws were written to protect the rights of the land owners who homesteaded the land first.  You can't divert water from the river that runs through your land unless you are a member in local water commision and have shares for so many acre feet.  Sometimes you might be at the end of the list, and if there is not enough to go around, tough you get none.  It looks like some of the states are now having some more modern clauses written to reflect what people need in the modern West. This isn't the Feds either, it is the States that set the water laws.

If you spend enough time out West you find that things are a little different from the rest of the country.  If you buy property you want to have the water rights, the mineral rights, and also the grazing rights.  Was told a story about some houses next to the Colorado in Utah.  They had to take down the fences around the gardens, since they did not have the grazing rights, and you can guess what the cows did to the garden (and lawn).



 

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Offline punatic

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2012, 10:05:49 PM »
I do quite a bit of work in hydrology, and I can tell you that water laws are more regional, illogical, and convoluted than alcoholic beverage laws, and that is saying a LOT.  I just found it interesting that in some places the rain that falls on your roof belongs to someone else.  Guess I'd be sending them a roofing bill for damage done by their precipitation.

Here on Hawaii Island, about 65,000 of us depend on rainwater catchment for our household water.  I never worry about wasting water because, #1 we get around 180" of rain per year here at my house, and #2 I just intercept it on its way of going to ground, to make it do a bit of work, before it goes to ground.  I use a little recycled sunshine to add pressure, put it to use, and then send it on its way.

And have no doubt, EVERY level of government has a say in what happens with water.  If I had a nickle for every hour I've spent reading water related laws I'd be part of the 1%.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 10:11:43 PM by punatic »
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Riparian Rights
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2012, 10:47:17 PM »
This isn't the Feds either, it is the States that set the water laws.

There's an *enormous* volume of federal law regulating water distribution, especially in the West. This is a great summary by the CBO that I came across while researching who the hell I had to talk to in order to exceed my allocation and, you know, operate a brewery.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/74xx/doc7471/08-07-WaterAllocation.pdf
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