Beneficial Use (of Water)

  1. The amount of water necessary when reasonable intelligence and diligence are used for a stated purpose.
  2. A use of water resulting in appreciable gain or benefit to the user, consistent with state law, which varies from one state to another. Most states recognize the following uses as beneficial:
    1. domestic and municipal uses
    2. industrial uses;
    3. irrigation
    4. mining
    5. hydroelectric power
    6. navigation
    7. recreation
    8. public parks
    9. wildlife and game preserves
    10. The cardinal principle of the (Prior) Appropriation Doctrine. A use of water that is, in general, productive of public benefit, and which promotes the peace, health, safety and welfare of the people of the State. A certificated water right is obtained by putting water to a beneficial use. The right may be lost if beneficial use is discontinued. A beneficial use of water is a use which is of benefit to the appropriator and to society as well. The term encompasses considerations of social and economic value and efficiency of use. In the past, most reasonably efficient uses of water for economic purposes have been considered beneficial. Usually, challenges have only been raised to wasteful use or use for some non-economic purpose, such as preserving instream values. Recent statutes in some states have expressly made the use of water for recreation, fish and wildlife purposes, or preservation of the environment a beneficial use.