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Golden RulesThe Origins of California Water Law in the Gold Rush$
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Mark Kanazawa

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226258676

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226258706.001.0001

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Water Quality and the Law of Nuisance

Water Quality and the Law of Nuisance

Chapter:
(p.217) Chapter Eight Water Quality and the Law of Nuisance
Source:
Golden Rules
Author(s):

Mark Kanazawa

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226258706.003.0008

Chapter 8 examines an important feature of appropriative law: its treatment of third-party impacts and the degradation of water quality commonly associated with placer mining. Water quality impacts began to be observed with increasing frequency as mining technologies became increasingly water-intensive after 1852. In response, the courts set in place certain principles for addressing disputes over degraded water quality, beginning with a rule based upon reasonable use and subsequently switching to a strict liability rule. This observed progression is consistent with rent maximization within a basin, based upon the size of the nuisance and assuming low transaction costs in purchasing water rights.

Keywords:   water quality, appropriative right, reasonable use, strict liability

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