ND Water Law


Western Water Law

These pages consider the variety of legal issues embedded in Prior Appropriation doctrine.
Acquiring a water right
Common law (court decisions) established the fundamental parameters of the prior appropriation doctrine. This page reviews those parameters and illustrates how they have been codified into subsequent statutes and regulations. Many of the examples reflect North Dakota statutes and regulations.
Permitting process
As the common law process of notifying others, documenting and defending a water right grew cumbersome, states adopted alternative procedures, such as special water courts and permittting processes. This page provides an overview of these procedures.
Priority of water rights
This page overviews legal principles to determine priority among competing water rights.
Terminating a water right
A water right may not last forever. This page reviews laws that define when a water right may terminate.
Extending the Use of Water
In the past, it may have been natural to think about using water once, that is, diverting it, using it and then discharging any amount that was not consumed. As demand for water increased, users became more innovative; "if there is not enough water to meet my expanding needs, can I extend the use of water that I can access? Can I reuse the water rather than discharge it to a public source? Can I bring water from another source? If I find ways to reduce my use of water, can I use the "saved" water to meet my expanded needs?"
Modifying a water right
Users may want to change how or where they use the water. This page introduces the legal steps that a water user may need to follow to modify the use of their water right.

Email:  david.saxowsky@ndsu.edu

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