Water rights constitute the oldest institutional arrangement for control of water quality, but recent decades have seen extensive development of alternative controls. These new mechanisms for water quality management have replaced the system of water rights as the primary institution for quality control, but these rights still function in an important supplementary capacity. Any qualitative change that substantially interferes with other legally recognized uses of water is in violation of water rights, but the determination of whether a particular quality alteration is in violation of the rights of others is a function of the judicial process. The fact that water rights require court action for their enforcement is a basic defect with regard to their effectiveness as an institution for water quality management. Specific weaknesses as a managerial mechanism include the responsive nature of court action, the limited scope of litigation between individuals, and the burden of proof facing the injured party. These weaknesses are largely overcome by the administrative agency approach, a basic reason for its widespread acceptance at present.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Presented at the ASCE Specialty Conference on Planning for Water Quality Management, Ithaca, N.Y., June 26-28, 1974.
  • Corporate Authors:

    American Society of Civil Engineers

    345 East 47th Street
    New York, NY  United States  10017-2398
  • Authors:
    • Walker, W R
    • Cox, W E
  • Publication Date: 1975-3

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; References;
  • Pagination: p. 511-516
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00096119
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: ASCE 11156 Proc Paper
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 2 1975 12:00AM