Property Systems and Conservation of Instream Flows: Israel and the Western United States Compared
Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law
October 16, 2009
Chapter 8 in SHARED BORDERS, SHARED WATERS: ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN AND COLORADO RIVER BASIN WATER CHALLENGES (Sharon Megdal, Robert Varady & Susanna Eden eds., UNESCO-IHE and CRC Press, 2013)
What is the connection between the property regime under which the law allocates water, and the degree of protection afforded by the law to public, “instream uses” of water‘ More concretely, to what extent is it true that a system of water law based on private property tends to impede protection of water-related natural values, while public ownership facilitates such conservation‘
This paper addresses these questions through a comparative study of water law in Israel, where water is the property of the state, and the western United States, where water law is based on private property rights. The law of the western United States is shown to have certain advantages over its Israeli counterpart, due to the judicial development of doctrines which recognize “private” rights owned by the public. The ultimate conclusion is that the public/private property distinction is of little significance if protection of instream uses is the goal; either type of property can be used for public-regarding purposes or turned to advancing private interest exclusively.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: water, prior appropriation, private property, public property, Israel, reserved rights, public trust, instream flow
JEL Classification: H41, H82, K11, K32, Q15, Q25, Q26, Q28
Date posted: October 19, 2009 ; Last revised: February 28, 2015
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