The case for dumping prior appropration

The case for dumping prior appropriation, the doctrine under which the first water users have the highest priority rights –  Travis Stills:

The 21st century water-use debate must move past “I got it first,” which children on the playground know is patently unreasonable and unfair.


  1. Ha ha, I’ve been sort of obsessed with finding scholars or other public figures who have actually gone on record suggesting we dump prior appropriate.They’re surprisingly hard to find! Reisner wasn’t that bold (or foolish, depending on your viewpoint.) I think the historian Donald Pisani has come close. Norris Hundley’s writing gives you plenty to build the case against it. Please pass on others you find!

  2. Matt – There’s a contingent in New Mexico who make this argument, I’ll dig up references for you. But conspicuously absent from their argument is *how* you would do this. Water conferences I attend are full of people who say what we ought to change to make things work better, but without the *how* piece – how you make change “X” in the context of real world water management – I’m not sure what to make of them.

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