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Abstract

The eastern United States generally lacks statutory limits on the use of water for agricultural uses, particularly irrigation. Commentators lament this deficit and advocate for statutory limits, citing certain problematic cases, such as Georgia’s former exemption for agricultural water use. No research surveys the status of agricultural water use in the eastern United States under so-called “regulated riparian” statutes. This article examines water use and the statutory water allocation rules in 19 eastern states with regulated riparian statutes to determine the extent of agricultural water uses in the East, as well as whether adequate controls are in place for such uses. This article analyzes water use data for each state and summarizes and categorizes the water allocation statutes in each state. The article concludes that the controls on agricultural water use in the East present a more nuanced issue than previously forecast, with agricultural uses of water posing issues in some states and not others, and with some states imposing comprehensive controls while others lack such a holistic approach. In almost all cases, state legislatures fail to link usage data with regulation. The article concludes with a recommendation to use effective existing regulations as model rules.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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