Instream Water Rights: Impact on Small Hydroelectric Plants
Proceedings of the Symposium on Small Hydropower and Fisheries
Olson FW;White RG;Hamre RH;
American Fisheries Society
Instream flow requirements for navigation, fishery preservation, aesthetics, and general recreation purposes are protected by a variety of methods, including federal permits, water court decrees, and state permits. These instream water rights impose basic flow demands which can impact the feasibility of proposed small hydroelectric plants. The use of instream water rights for aquatic life protection and recreation has grown in recent years. The impact on other water rights is sometimes significant. Administration of instream water rights is similar in some ways to that for water rights which utilize a stream diversion. Examples of instream water right appropriations and potential conflicts with hydroelectric development are useful in evaluating new projects.