ND Water Law


Ridding Oneself of Unwanted Water

This folder addresses legal issues associated with ridding oneself of water whether it is discharging waste or draining excess water. The legal issues are addressed by state and federal laws.
Quantity of Discharged Water: Drains & Dikes
This page considers the legal issues associated with ridding oneself of excess water, such as drainage from a field after spring thaw or a heavy rain. These legal issues have a long history, extending back centuries. State law generally addresses this question, that is, "can I drain unwanted water from my land". An associated question is "can I block unwanted water from draining onto my land." As one can expect, the situations when these questions arise often are emotional.
Quality of Discharged Water
Led by federal law (Clean Water Act); implemented by EPA and state agency (e.g., ND Dept. of Health)
Preserving Wetlands
This page discusses various laws intended to protect wetlands, whether the wetland is eliminated by drainage or with fill. An underlying legal issue is whether a prohibition against altering a wetland on private property would be a "taking". This page briefly reviews wetland migration within a water project, wetlands bank (state and federal), "swampbuster", Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and other federal laws.

Email:  david.saxowsky@ndsu.edu

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