Washington Law Review


The purpose of this article is to assist in the re-examination of Washington water law by looking at the parts of that law encompassed within the labels "riparian" and "appropriation." The first few pages will sketch some of the current trends in water use, showing some of the remarkable differences in use between the first part of the century and today, and between the eastern and western parts of the state. The balance of the article will examine the two systems to see where they are meeting current needs of the state and where they are not. Several questions will be discussed; e.g., how do the riparian and appropriation systems combine in this state? In the area of conflict between these two systems, where does the riparian system enjoy a preferred status, and where the appropriation system? What trends are visible in each of these systems, and in the combination? Are these trends desirable? With a few obvious exceptions the material discussed will pertain only to the nonnavigable waters of the state, the smaller lakes and streams. The exceptions include (1) a discussion of what is meant by "navigable," and (2) whether riparian rights exist on navigable waters.

First Page


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