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Water Law Basics: Rights in Ground Water

Who has the right to pump and use ground water -- the water in underground aquifers? The various states in the United States have used a variety of rules to establish rights in ground water. As a practical matter, some of these rules have created problems because states didn't recognize that ground waters and surface waters are often connected.

This lesson provides a review of the five major doctrines that states have employed to decide who has what rights in ground water. It is intended to serve as a review of these doctrines for students who have studied ground water rights as part of a Water Law, Property, or Advanced Property course. The lesson consists of 15 questions.

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