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Water Law: Federal Reserved Rights

Water law is dominated by state law. However, one important federal law exception to this general principle are federal reserved rights -- water rights retained by the federal government when it sets aside federal land for particular purposes, such as an Indian reservation or national park.

This lesson provides a review of federal reserved rights for students who have covered that doctrine in a Water Law, Natural Resources Law, or Advanced Property course. Students should already be familiar with federal reserved rights in general and the Winters doctrine in particular. The lesson emphasizes the Winters doctrine and federal reserved rights for tribal reservations, but it also covers the other kinds of federal reserved rights.

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