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Do Water Rights Have a Future?

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Photo of the South Fork of the Kings River in Kings Canyon National Park
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Water rights, depending on jurisdiction, possess various levels of seeming indemnity and security, typically demonstrated through some standard of legally established priority. Water entitlements have been long-standing icons of local and regional industrial, economic, and political power. Over time, as water demands grew, but available supplies dwindled, they became increasingly guarded. But is all that attention and protection still validated, particularly as we look at our changing future?
Many, not all, water right holders acknowledge that there is a growing risk to their entitlements but have yet to really take proactive steps to closely evaluate these risks, let alone initiate remedies or mitigate any potential threats. Most simply choose to ignore it. In fact, some water entitlement holders seem brazenly unfettered by the whole issue. So much so, in fact, they can often be “seen” waving their permits/licenses around as if it represented some guarantee. Well, perhaps society may be able to grant some hybrid guarantee through various legal protections, but Mother Nature can override everything, even Supreme Court rulings with remarkable ease…
The views expressed in this commentary are the author’s views, and should not be attributed to Maven’s Notebook.
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