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property rights in sewage effluent

In response to message from Ralph Cooper--  I think you're right to start
with a general analysis of western water rights law vis-a-vis this issue.
I think you'll find that anywhere in the arid west, that there are water
rights attached to wastewater.  For example, in Nevada, for Lake Mead there
is a system of "return" credits--a water user can pull out as much water
from the lake as long as they return it in the form of wastewater (a major
disincentive to provide indoor water conservation measures, such as
low-flow toilets).  Another interesting area is along the U.S./Mexico
border--water reclamation is sometimes hindered  because of water rights
issues--say a city in the U.S. wants to reclaim and reuse, but Mexico has
rights to the return flow of the wastewater.  Really in many arid areas,
wastewater is a resource and people fight over it (classic issue, which has
come up in the 91st Ave plant, is a historic wastewater flow to a stream
creating a habitat, then surrounding developed areas wanting to reclaim the
wastewater for irrigation.)  I know water rights is a hot legal issue right
now, and you may find a lot out there in the journals.  You may even want
to narrow your topic to say, U.S./Mexico border, or to a specific type of
situation (say, riparian habitat vs. water reuse for irrigation).

Nancy Yoshikawa
EPA, Region 9
(415) 744-1163