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WWRC 91-13
One Hundred Years of Wyoming Water Law


On most occasions when I have written about Wyoming water law I have served the role of a critic. I have criticized the State's instream flow law, its water transfer laws, and most recently, its handling of the dispute over Indian reserved water rights. I am pleased to use the occasion of Wyoming's centennial not to criticize Wyoming water law, but to praise it. The reasons for my praise stem from Wyoming's long and proud history as a leader in the development of water law and policy in the western United States. What I would like to do in this article is to briefly trace 100 years of Wyoming water law. Of necessity, I will avoid most of the nuances in the State's laws, but I do hope to convey a sense of its history and general meaning.

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