Introduction Federal and State laws governing the use of water have substantial impact upon riparian areas. The interstate compacts and court decrees to which Wyoming is a party determine how much water Wyoming can consumptively use from rivers and streams. In addition, the doctrine of reserved water rights has given to the federal government the ability to claim large quantities of water for consumptive and nonconsumpdve uses. These claims will take on increasing significance as litigation over the reserved rights is concluded. This paper will briefly outline some of the most important federal and state laws that affect Wyoming's use of water.
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