Alaska Water Law: An Overview

Alaska Water Law: An Overview

Izetta Chambers

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Alaska residents, NGOs, tribes, city officials, developers, and lawyers have a convenient information source in this publication, covering the history and status of Alaska water laws. While the State of Alaska governs water within its borders and within 3 miles of the shoreline, the federal government has jurisdiction over water rights on federal lands, which make up over 60% of the land in Alaska. Past and current controversies over who has rights to Alaska’s waters involve public lands, subsistence, commercial fishing, mining, and the Clean Water Act, among others. Water law lessons learned in other states have not been applied yet in Alaska, due to an abundance of water resources. But with possible shortages of groundwater and surface water due to climate change, industry, and a growing population, Alaska will likely face the same problems other states have dealt with.

Readers might also be interested in Understanding Water Rights in Alaska by Marie Lowe and Linda Leask.

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