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Application For New Surface Water Appropriation and Acquisition of Existing Surface Water Appropriation

William J. Kirven, Water Acquisition for Mineral Development (1978)

The energy shortage and the need for development of alternate sources of energy have created a greatly increased demand for water. Due to the availability in the Western states of large deposits of uranium; oil shale; and low-sulphur coal which can be converted into synthetic natural gas, gasoline or other energy products, or which can be used as fuel for boilers replacing oil or natural gas, there exists a unique problem to be solved by industry. Plentiful supplies of these minerals are located mainly in the semiarid West, a geographic area that does not have an abundance of available water. How, then, does industry locate and develop an adequate and secure supply of water so that it may convert these minerals to an alternate energy use?

In this paper we will consider only surface water of a western state, both streamflow and reservoir. Ground water, Indian water, reserved Federal rights, and water available from Federal reservoirs will not be discussed since these are subjects of other papers being presented at this Institute.


Western Water

Traditionally, the western states subscribe to the appropriation doctrine as opposed to the common law riparian rights doctrine. The riparian rights doctrine grants to the owner of land contiguous to a stream the privilege of having the stream flow through his land undiminished in quantity and qualit