Special Challenges to Water Markets in Riparian States

by Jospeh W. Dellapenna

Jan 1, 2004
Georgia, especially the Atlanta region, has encountered recurring and increasingly severe droughts. Phenomenal growth has compounded the water shortage problem. Georgia has also become embroiled in legal disputes with neighboring states over their shared water resources. Even the arrival of ample rains did not end water restrictions in Georgia. Georgia's regulated riparian regime should have facilitated its response. Yet Georgia's regulated riparian regime is in some respects undeveloped; in particular, it exempts nearly all "farm uses" from its regulatory requirements. Thus, the underlying legal regime, based upon traditional riparian rights, remains important in Georgia. The resulting complexity of the water law in the State is an impediment to the flexibility necessary for the most efficient and effective response to these growing problems.

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