Seven Myths of Northwest Water Law and Associated Stories

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Environmental Law

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Env't L.


Contrary to popular belief, water in the Pacific Northwest is not an abundant resource. This Article debunks several myths which inhibit full understanding of the framework under which water rights in the Northwest are allocated. These myth include: 1) the erroneous assumption that the Northwest is humid; 2) the belief that salmon recovery divides the region into lower and upper basin constituencies; 3) the assumption that the market allocates water rights; 4) the notion that appropriators are entitled to a fixed quantity of water; 5) the misguided perspective that hydropower is not part of water law; 6) the premise that water law is unconnected to watershed protection; and 7) the supposition that Indian treaty fishing rights are not water law. The Article also provides an overview of a symposium on water policy and sustainability in the Columbia Basin.

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