Water Rights

A water right is for out-of-stream uses where water is removed from the system and the flow regime is altered. Out-of-stream uses include ice roads, domestic water supply, power generation, mining, irrigation and recreation.

DNR maintains a database of subsurface and surface water rights. A total of 164 subsurface water rights and 122 surface water rights exists in the Copper River watershed. These rights range from domestic water use which includes family dwellings and subdivisions, recreation, power generation, ice roads, mining and irrigation. Surface water rights come directly from streams and rivers while subsurface rights come from groundwater or wells.

Water rights exist throughout the Copper River watershed for various uses such as domestic water supply, hydropower generation and mining. There are federal, state, and private entities such as towns and tribal councils that apply for water rights. Federal reserved water rights are different from state appropriated water rights and are created when federal lands are withdrawn from the public domain. Federal reserved water rights may apply to both instream and out-of-stream uses and have priority dates established as the date the land was withdrawn.

© 2011 Copper River Knowledge System