Ground Water Canada

WSC updates report on ground water rights in the U.S.

October 18, 2016  By Ground Water Canada

Washington, DC – The Water Systems Council, a nonprofit organization in the United States solely focused on household wells and small water well systems, has updated its comprehensive summary of ground water rights in the U.S.

This report, Who Owns the Water?, summarizes the common law and statutory rules for ground water rights in each of the 50 states and is intended for educational purposes only, the Water Systems Council (WSC) said in a news release.

Water rights continue to be the subject of increasing disagreements and litigation and disputes likely to escalate in the future, the council said.

WSC published the first edition of Who Owns the Water? in 2003. Since 2009, there have been a number of significant developments with respect to groundwater rights across the country. The 2016 update includes these new developments.


Research for the 2016 update was completed by Jesse Richardson, Jr., Esq., Lead Land Use Attorney at the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic and Associate Professor of Law at the West Virginia University College of Law.

An electronic version of Who Owns the Water? is available for download on the WSC website. Hard copies can be obtained by emailing

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