But who owns the water?

In Alabama, it’s the wild west when it comes to a showdown over water resources. Without state regulations on who can withdraw water and how much, most of the state relies on English common law for riparian rights.

That is, unless you are on an Alabama Power reservoir, like the one described in a Birmingham News story about a sod farmer being sued by the power company because of his water withdrawals.

Sod farmer, utility wrestle over water – Birmingham News 10/22/07

Alabama Power owns the bottom of the lake to nearly 400 feet above the lake bottom. But, they don’t own the water itself – that is owned by the people of Alabama. However, Alabama Power charges those who withdraw from their reservoirs a “loss generation” fee because they can’t generate electricity off the water that is consumed.

Sounds like Alabama Power owns the water, doesn’t it? I guess possession is 9/10ths of the law.

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