Washington, D.C. — The Water Systems Council (WSC), the only national, nonprofit organization solely focused on household wells and small water well systems, released the 2016 update to Who Owns the Water?, a comprehensive summary of groundwater rights in the U.S.
Water rights continue to be the subject of increasing disagreements and litigation. As population and drought place increasing demands on a scarce resource, disputes about water rights are likely to escalate even more in the future. This report summarizes the common law and statutory rules for groundwater rights in each of the 50 states and is intended for educational purposes only.
WSC published the first edition of Who Owns the Water? in 2003. Updated reports were published in October 2005 and again in October 2009. Since 2009, there have been a number of significant developments with respect to groundwater rights across the country. The 2016 update includes these new developments.
Research for the 2016 update was completed by Jesse Richardson, Jr., Esq., Lead Land Use Attorney at the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic and Associate Professor of Law at the West Virginia University College of Law.