Based on the natural history of property rights, in the face of water scarcity and as demand increases, one might expect to see the articulation of comprehensive individualized property rights to allocate access to this resource. However, because of the special nature of the water resource, modern water allocation regimes must balance the desire to provide security to water users and create incentives for efficiency with the need to manage water in a manner that incorporates public values for ecological health. In so doing, these regimes create use entitlements or rights that possess characteristics of private property while incorporating mechanisms to allow for adaptive management of the water resource. Using modern Australian and Canadian water law, this chapter explores the question of whether the result can be characterized as private rights. Keywords: Chapter 7 (Mascher and Curran): Water allocation, private property, right to use water, adaptive management, Australian water regimes, Western Canadian water law regimes
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