Understanding Water Rights in Alaska

No one has automatic rights to use water in Alaska: the state constitution defines water as a public resource, and the state government decides who can use water, how much, and for what. That’s true on both public and private land, and for all landowners—government agencies, businesses, and individual Alaskans.

Anyone who wants to use a significant amount of water has to apply to the state for water rights. A new paper by Marie Lowe and Linda Leask of ISER explains the basics of water rights in Alaska: what they are, when you need them, how to apply for them, and how many have been issued so far.

Download the paper, Understanding Water Rights in Alaska (PDF, 637KB). A supplemental file (PDF, 3.9MB) of some cited references is also available. If you have questions, get in touch with Marie Lowe, associate professor of public policy, at mlowe@alaska.edu or 907-786-6534.

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