Water Rights

"No Boats" sign on dry Lake Mead bed

Colorado River Compact Needs 21st Century Update

While the historic agreement set a new precedent for water rights, its inherent flaws, growing demand, and the threat of climate change make much of it obsolete for today’s needs.

November 16, 2022 - High Country News

South Platte River surrounded by apartments and office buildings at Shoemaker Plaza in Confluence Park. Denver, Colorado

Nebraska, Colorado Square Off in Fight Over South Platte River Water

Billions of dollars of water development are at stake as Colorado and Nebraska battle for control of more South Platter River water.

January 19, 2022 - Hastings Tribune

Scottsdale, Arizona

Arizona Water Rights No Longer 'Use it or Lose it'

A bill approved with bipartisan support by the Arizona State Legislature offers new incentives for water conservation.

February 28, 2021 - Arizona Public Media

Arizona Agriculture

A Development Showdown Over Water in Rural Arizona

The battle for the future of Colorado River water, and whether it will be used for agriculture or new development, continues in Arizona.

September 10, 2020 - Arizona Republic

Arizona Agriculture

Legislation Would Prevent Rural-to-Urban Water Transfers in Arizona

A plan to sell water intended for agricultural uses to help fuel the development of a city on the edge of the Phoenix metropolitan area has inspired new state legislation.

January 29, 2020 - Arizona Republic


Water Concerns Follow New Development in Montana

Sprawling subdivision development in Montana is popping up in former agricultural land, pressuring water resources and leading to some legal controversy.

December 6, 2019 - High Country News

Dry Lake in Arizona

Op-Ed: Implications for Phoenix as Lake Mead Runs Dry

Metro Phoenix has a lot to think about as Lake Mead water shortages become ever more likely. A three-state drought contingency plan may only be a temporary fix for a problem that'll divide cities and stakeholders.

October 9, 2018 - azcentral.com

Oil Drill

Oil and Gas Drilling Issues Loom Large in Colorado on Election Day

Unlike prior initiatives that sought drilling bans, Prop. 112 would greatly increase setbacks from buildings to such an extent that it could doom much of the industry. A competing initiative would make the change a "taking" and require compensation.

September 6, 2018 - Colorado Public Radio

Dry Lake in Arizona

Arizona Struggles to Balance Demand for Water

Two case studies exemplify the extreme economic and legal pressures surrounding water supply in the state of Arizona.

August 22, 2018 - Water Deeply

Twin Peaks

Even in the Pacific Northwest, Developments Conflict With Water

The Seattle region would seem to have plenty of water to go around. That doesn't mean there aren't environmental consequences for more development.

June 25, 2018 - KUOW

California's Historic Drought Pressures Traditional Water Rights

California’s drought has the State Water Resources Control Board in "hyperdrive"—rushing to fill the gaps of a historic water-rights system, settle disputes over water use, and lay the groundwork for a sustainable future.

July 19, 2015 - The Planning Report

Battling Over the Nile's Water, Forgetting About its Ecosystem

Despite flowing through ten different nations, the Nile's water is only technically the property of Egypt and Sudan. The other eight nations are trying to change that. But as the debate heats up, the river's ecosystem may be caught in the cross-fire.

July 27, 2010 - Yale Environment 360

Finding Solutions for the Colorado River Delta Problem

The Colorado River Delta is in tough shape once it ventures into Mexico. But now, a group of NGOs and local governments are showing how the sensitive area can be kept clean.

March 17, 2010 - Miller-McCune Magazine

Water Rights Ruling Puts Thousands of Permits in Question

A recent water rights ruling in Nevada could potentially endanger the validity of nearly 15,000 water rights in the state dating back to 1947. As a result, new applications for water rights are flooding state offices.

February 5, 2010 - Las Vegas Review-Journal

Las Vegas Water Plan Hits Wall

Plans by Las Vegas officials to siphon water from northern Nevada down to the growing city may have hit a wall, as a recent ruling from the state Supreme Court found fault with the region's water rights application process.

January 30, 2010 - Los Angeles Times

Diversify Your Water Buys

By combining three water purchasing approaches -- permanent rights, options and leases -- cities can better manage water supplies to avoid high costs and supply reductions, according to a new study.

January 20, 2010 - Penn State Live

States' Water Negotiations Can Be Secret

Negotiations between the states of Georgia, Alabama and Florida can remain secret, according to a recent federal ruling.

January 12, 2010 - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Regions of Water's Future Uncertainty

This interactive map from Good's Water issue highlight seven regions in the world that are likely to experience conflict over water shortages.

July 14, 2009 - Good

Rainwater Collection Rules Evolving in the West

Two new laws in Colorado make legal the formerly prohibited act of collecting rainwater. Other states aren't so lenient.

June 30, 2009 - The New York Times

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