• Some Legal Problems of Urban Runoff

      Holub, Hugh; College of Law, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1972-05-06)
      Pressure is being brought to bear on national resources of air, earth, and water in the growing cities in the arid southwest. Legal questions involved in capturing urban runoff and putting it to a beneficial use are examined. Urbanization of a watershed results in a 3 to 5 fold increase in runoff amounts. Legal aspects include tort liability from floods, water rights to the increased flows, land use restrictions along banks and flood plains, condemnation of land for park development and flowage easements, financing problems, zoning applications, and coordination of governmental bodies responsible for parks, storm drainage and related services. Urban runoff is the most obvious legal problem in the tort liability area. It appears feasible to divert small quantities of water from urban wastes for recreational uses which provide flood control benefits. It appears that municipalities could appropriate increased flows caused by urbanization. The ultimate legal questions remain to be resolved by legislation, litigation or extension of the appropriative system.