• Understanding Water Rights in Alaska

      Leask, Linda; Lowe, Marie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-02-01)
      Alaska’s state constitution defines water as a public resource, but no one has automatic rights to use water.1 The constitution and Alaska law allow the state government to decide who can use water, how much they can use, and for what. That’s true on both private and public land, and for all landowners —government agencies, businesses, and individual Alaskans. Anyone who plans to use a significant amount of water needs to get water rights, which are legal rights to specific amounts of water, from specific sources, for specific purposes.2 The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) processes water-rights applications and decides whether to issue water-right permits and certificates. And anyone who gets water rights has priority over those who apply later, if other proposed uses would conflict with theirs.3