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Water Law Research Guide
This research guide describes resources for researching water law at the federal and state level in the United States.
This research guide describes resources in the Georgetown Law Library and on the Internet for researching water law at the federal and state level. It does not attempt to cover international water law. Since there is often overlap with environmental law and land use, you may want to review our guides on these topics as well.
Background - Treatises & Texts
Because water law is a complicated area of the law that involves federal, state and local laws, it is often helpful to begin research in a treatise that provides an overview of the law.
Cases and Materials on Water Law, George A. Gould, Douglas L. Grant, Gregory S. Weber (7th ed. 2005), KF644 .T73
Legal Control of Water Resources: Cases and Materials, Joseph L. Sax (4th ed. 2006), KF5568 .S28
Principles of Water Law and Administration: National and International, Dante A. Caponera (2nd ed. 2007), K3496 .C36
Water Law in a Nutshell, David H. Getches (4th ed. 2009), KF5569.3 .G48
Waters and Water Rights, Robert E. Beck, ed. (1991-2008), KF645 .W3
In addition to the treatises listed above, the library owns a variety of general and specialized resources covering water law. To find other resources:
- Try browsing the shelves around the call numbers listed for the treatises above. Generally, most resources can be found in the KF644 and KF5569 range.
- Try a subject search in GULLiver or George (the main campus library's catalog) for one of the following subject headings:
- Water -- Law and legislation -- United States
- Water Law And Legislation United States Cases
- Water Law And Legislation United States States
- Water-supply -- Government policy -- United States.
- Water resources development -- United States.
- Water resources development -- Environmental aspects -- United States -- Case studies
- Watersheds -- United States -- Case studies
- Water-supply -- Management
- Water-supply -- United States -- Management
- Water use -- United States
- Use the Library's Treatise Finder to locate additional major publications and electronic databases on water law and related topics.
Legislation - Federal & State
Federal and state statutes can be researched and retrieved in various forms and locations online. The library's statutory research tutorials can be found via the library's tutorials page.
Title 33 of the United States Code (KF62 2006 .A2 v. 33) deals with navigation and navigable water. Much of the federal legislation will be found there, including:
Safe Drinking Water Act - statutes and regulations on the EPA website
Clean Water Act - summary and links to statute on EPA website
Prevention of Pollution from Ships - U.S. Code, Title 33, Chapter 33
State Water Codes:
|Alabama - Title 33
||Montana - Title 85|
|Alaska - Title 46||Nebraska - Chaps. 31, 46 & 56|
|Arizona - Title 45||Nevada - Title 48|
|Arkansas - Title 15||New Hampshire - Title L|
|California - Water Code
||New Jersey - Title 58|
|Colorado - Title 37||New Mexico - Chapter 72|
|Connecticut - Title 25||New York - Searchable TOC
|Delaware - Title 23||North Carolina - Chapter 77|
|Florida - Title XXVII||North Dakota - Title 61|
|Georgia - Title 52
||Ohio - Title LXI|
|Hawaii - Searchable Index||Oklahoma - Title 82|
|Idaho - Title 70||Oregon - Chaps. 536-558|
|Illinois - Chapter 615||Pennsylvania - Searchable Code
|Indiana - Title 14, Articles 25-33||Rhode Island - Title 46|
|Iowa - Title Xi, Subtitles 1-3||South Carolina - Title 49|
|Kansas - Chaps. 24, 42 & 82a||South Dakota - Title 46 & Title 46A|
|Kentucky - Title IX, Chaps. 74 &104||Tennessee - Title 69|
|Louisiana - Title 34||Texas - Water Code|
|Maine - Title 12 & Title 38||Utah - Title 73|
|Maryland - Environment
||Vermont - Title 25|
|Massachusetts - Chaps 91 & 92
||Virginia - Titles 28.2 & 62.1|
|Michigan - Chaps. 121, 323 & 486||Washington - Titles 85-91|
|Minnesota - Chaps. 103A-114B||West Virginia - Chaps. 20 & 21|
|Mississippi - Title 51||Wisconsin - Chaps. 280 & 281|
|Missouri - Title XV||Wyoming - Title 41|
Current Awareness Sources
- Water Law and Policy Manual - this Law Report covers water rights and quality news related to cases, legislation, and regulation
- Water Headlines - weekly publication of the EPA's Office of Water
General Websites on Water Law
- Center for Water Resources - University of California
- FindLaw's Update on Water Law
- Library of California Current Large Marine Ecosystem Law and Regulation - includes U.S. statutes and regulations, as well as state material from California, Oregon, and Washington
- National Institutes for Water Resources - provides links to all 50 state research centers
- Northwest Water Law & Policy Project - Lewis & Clark School of Law
Federal Agency Websites on Water Law
- U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Water Resources
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water
- U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources of the United States
Other Research Guides
Law Reviews & Journal Indexes
To do a comprehensive search of the journal literature on your topic, you must use journal indexes. The full-text journal databases on Lexis and Westlaw do not contain all of the law journals published, and, for those that are included, the starting date of coverage is rarely volume 1.
The journal indexes, in contrast, include virtually all legal journals from volume 1 and, in the case of the Legal Resource Index, legal newspapers as well.
For research on water law prior to 1980, older journals can provide excellent background information and discussions of policy issues.
- Index to Legal Periodicals & Books (Retrospective)
- LegalTrac (formerly Legal Resource Index)
- Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals
Some specialized journals on the topic of water law include:
created 08/08 (MK)
updated 10/14 (SG)
© Georgetown University Law Library. These guides may be used for educational purposes, as long as proper credit is given. These guides may not be sold. Requests to republish or adapt a guide should be directed to the Head of Reference. Proper credit includes the statement: Written by, or adapted from, Georgetown Law Library (current as of .....).