The Prior Appropriations Doctrine: A Necessity for Interstate and International Water Sharing
The Prior Appropriations doctrine, also known as the “first in time, first in right” doctrine, is a legal principle that governs the use of surface water in the United States. This doctrine is applied to interstate and international water sharing, and it has become a necessary tool for managing water resources. Under the Prior Appropriations doctrine, water rights are granted according to the date of first use, meaning that the earlier a user begins to take and use water, the higher priority they have in receiving water (Wyoming Water Law, 2020). This priority is codified by law, and it is important for managing surface water resources, as it ensures that each user is able to receive the water they need while also maintaining sustainability. The Prior Appropriations doctrine is considered the primary legal principle of water law in the western United States (Doremus, 2020). This is due to the fact that the arid western climate necessitates careful management of water resources. As a result, the Prior Appropriations doctrine has been adopted in multiple western states, including California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming (Wyoming Water Law, 2020). Cont…
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