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Establish a Clear Code of Water Rights

August 04, 2003

Re "San Diego County Dam Nearly Done," July 27: Who owns the water that flows in streams or resides in deep aquifers? This country desperately needs a new unified national policy on water rights to replace the present confused system of riparian rights and prior appropriators' rights overlain by judicial decisions within the state and the conflict between states that arises from rights to water that flows through several states on its way to the ocean.

For instance, Colorado is expected to divert more water from the headwaters of the Colorado River to the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, which will affect all the other downstream users. It might be wise to provide that all the water in streams and aquifers belong to the people and that whoever uses it should have to pay the government.

Kenneth L. Perry

Newport Beach

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