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Emma Hager

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The Good Rights Myth

The Good Rights Myth

Even the most obsessive water-law wonks among us will admit to the utter incomprehensibility of the system’s minutiae

Today, water law remains largely unchanged, a residually conservative doctrine that disfigures California’s progressive posturing. It’s all still a dizzying maze of pre- and-post-1914 rights claims, made more dizzying by the steady accumulation of niche contractual obligations, bizarre and dubious exceptions, the overlapping roles of roughly hundreds of county water districts and local agencies, and even the private leasing of rights between landowners.