WA-92-2-Federal Water Rights, Creating Through Permit Process

WHEREAS the struggle in the West to preserve private property rights continues in the face of increasing federal control and management of federal lands and the resources interconnected with those lands; and

WHEREAS the creation of specific federal reserved water rights, especially in connection with additional wilderness designations, is still subject to debate and final resolution by Congress; and

WHEREAS the federal agencies, as affirmed by passage of the McCarran Amendment in 1952 (43 U.S.C. § 666), must   defer to laws regarding the adjudication of  water rights; and

WHEREAS the executive branch is constitutionally prohibited from creating any substantive property rights; and

WHEREAS the actions of the U.S. Forest Service in requiring any kind of streamflow bypass or minimum flow requirements in the renewal of existing permits or use of existing facilities in connection with permitting of non-federal waterworks or the operation of any other facilities upon federal lands constitutes the creation of “federal administrative water rights,” without Congressional authorization, which have the direct effect of prejudicing water rights duly- obtained in state water courts under state laws;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that CLUB 20 opposes the inclusion of any binding requirements or restrictions in the renewal of existing permits or use of existing facilities regarding stream flows in any federal land use or resource regulation permit, or by any other means, in the absence of specific federal legislation and appropriate state action, and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED, that CLUB 20 believes that matters involving water rights and water quality should remain in state jurisdiction as matters of primary state interest.  Federal agencies should defer to state law and cooperate with state agencies in regulating water quality according to local needs and conditions.

Adopted 9/18/1992

Amended 9/9/2011

Amended 9/9/2016