A Legal-Economic Critique of Nebraska Watercourse Law

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Nebraska Law Review, Vol: 44, Issue: 1, Page: 11

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Yeutter, Clayton K.
article description
Nothing is more emotion packed than a discussion of ways and means to allocate a resource that is essential to the maintenance of human life. Yet the scarcity of water in many parts of our nation makes such a discussion imperative. Although Nebraska's landscape is dotted with innumerable creeks and streams, the state's tremendous irrigation developments have long since created water disputes and a legal system for adjudicating them. This article will attempt to show that from a legal-economic viewpoint at least some changes are long overdue.I. IntroductionII. Watercourse DefinedIII. The Legal Doctrines … A. The Existing Riparian Doctrine … B. The Appropriation DoctrineIV. The Department of Water Resources … A. General Duties … B. Applications for Appropriations … C. Storage Appropriations … D. Lands to Be Irrigated … E. Administrative Penalties … F. Stored Floodwaters … G. Condition of DamsV. Nebraska Watercourse Law—Its Characteristics and Problems … A. Ancient Vested Appropriation Rights … B. Quantity Limitations … C. Water Shortages … D. Transferability of Appropriation Rights … E. Forfeiture of Appropriation Rights … F. Downstream Senior v. Upstream Junior Appropriations … G. Preferences … (1) The Legal Implications … (2) The Economic Implications … H. Trans-watershed Diversions … I. Administrative Standards … J. Conclusion