Cappaert v. United States is the latest in a long line of cases dealing with the implied reservation of water rights doctrine. This doctrine, also known as the Winters doctrine because it originated in Winters v. United States, says that when the United States government reserves land, it also reserves enough water to accomplish its purposes. In substance, the doctrine means that when water is needed to accomplish the purpose of a reservation, the federal government can take without compensation whatever amount of unappropriated water existed on the date the reservation was established. Cappaert involved an attempt by the Supreme Court to clarify the issues and questions that have arisen from the implied reservation of water rights doctrine.
Expansion of the Reservation of Water Rights Doctrine: Cappaert v. United States, 426 U.S. 128 (1976),
56 Neb. L. Rev. 410
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