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Public Rights in Water: Home

General Description of Covered Topics

This LibGuide will provide resources helping researchers explore the ways in which water law preserves the general rights of the public to use water — for navigation, for commerce, for recreation, for culture, and for environmental purposes. The LibGuide is further equipped with legal research and writing tips prepared for assisting students writing their upper level writing paper.  Topics will include the public trust doctrine, federal navigation servitude, equal footing doctrine, Winters doctrine, public access and beaches, climate change and water, and the Asian carp invasion threatening the Great Lakes region.

John Wesley Powell (1883)


  You are piling up a heritage of litigation over water rights, for there is not sufficient water to supply the land. 

 John Wesley Powell - 1883

What are the Public's Right to Water?


Generally speaking, the public has a right to use water for the following: 

  1. Navigation
  2. Commerce
  3. Fisheries
  4. Recreation
  5. Environmental Preservation 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.