Water is a unique resource that is critical to human life. Fresh water is in limited supply. Water creates habitat for plants and wildlife. And because it flows downhill, water does not stop at jurisdictional boundaries.
Water law establishes the rules for the regulated use of water and water resources. Generally, laws concerning water fall into one of two categories: (1) Water rights, which concern ownership of water and use of water resources, such as for energy and fish habitat; and (2) Water quality, which addresses contamination and pollution of water and watersheds. However, these distinctions often overlap when an appropriation or use of water degrades water quality.
The specific laws that apply to any particular water issue will depend on several factors, including:
- Whether the issue concerns water rights or water quality
- Who has jurisdiction (i.e., state or federal government)
- The nature of the water body at issue (oceans, surface water, or groundwater).
Walla Walla attorney Andrea Burkhart has extensive experience in water law and she is qualified to assist you with your legal rights and responsibilities regarding all aspects of water rules and regulations.