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Natural Resources Law
University of Connecticut School of Law
Strasser, Kurt A.

Nat Resources
I. Water Law

a. Riparianism

i. Restatement
1. Riparian Land = land on watercourse/lake
2. L exists for unreasonable use that harm’s another riparian’s reasonable use.
3. Reasonableness factors (riparian v. riparian):
a. purpose of the use
b. suitability of the use to the watercourse or lake
c. economic value of the use
d. social value of the use
e. extent and amount of the harm it causes
f. practicality of avoiding the harm by adjusting the use or method of use of one proprietor or the other
g. practicality of adjusting the quantity of water used by each proprietor
h. protection of existing values of water uses, land investments and enterprises (incorporates PA)
i. justice of req. the user causing the harm to bear the loss

ii. Riparian: Common Law Elements of

1. Natural Flow Doctrine
a. Riparian owner may only make use of the water in a way that will not alter its quantity or quality

b City of Waterbury v. Town of Washington

· (Prescription) Since Natural Flow is robust doctrine the erection/use of a dam in interference w/ downstream riparian’s rights on river satisfy the open, visible and adverse requirements necessary for a prescriptive easement

· (Public Trust) Comply with regulatory standards specifically designed to govern the conduct in question and the conduct cannot be judged unreasonable with respect to the public trust doctrine under CEPA

2. Reasonable Use Doctrine
a. Riparian owner can only use the water in a reasonable way that does not interfere with the ability of another riparian user to use the water

b. Harris v. Brooks:(riparian/irrigation) v. (riparian/surface commercial recreational user)

· Under reasonable use recreation, fishing and irrigation all considered equal uses.

· limits: (a) usemust be consistent with statutory scheme and (b) domestic use trumps recreation, fishing and irrigation.

· Crt doesn’t use 9 Rst. factors; instead gauges unreasonable impairment by looking to water level before and after contested use.

· If Ps

of temporal priority during shortage
4. Water rights can be lost by failing to use them

1. Imperial Irrigation Co. v. California- Board issued a decision that concluded IID’s practices were wasteful and unreasonable, and required appellant to submit a plan for reservoir construction and to take other actions. Appellant sought review of respondent’s action. lowr court denied IID’s writ of mandate to overturn a decision of respondent/Board. Appellant contended that respondent had exceeded its jurisdiction and its order exceeded the bounds of its discretion.
· CA prior appropriation does not bestow a vested right to waste/misuse water.
Where the Cal Constitution requires not only that water use be “reasonable” but that “the water resources be put to beneficial use to the fullest extent.” a comparison of uses shows what is beneficial