|dc.description.abstract||Wisconsin water law has developed with little, if any, recognition
of the hydrologic cycle. Courts and legislatures have
dealt with water depending upon physical location and thus created
legal distinctions and classifications of water which are contrary
to hydrologic fact.
Today it is generally recognized that all water is part of an
interdependent and continuous cycle. Despite such knowledge,
Wisconsin has developed and solidified legal classes of water and
separate doctrines for water which perpetuate obsolete factual
The objective of this study is to make proposals for a groundwater
law which could be incorporated into a water code dealing
with all water, and thus abolish artificial legal distinctions
based upon the location of water.
The approach taken to arrive at this objective was to examine
the influence of \/Wisconsin surface water doctrines on groundwater
law, attempt to identify legal and hydrologic problems with respect
to groundwater, and study the case and statutory law of
other states to determine how such states resolve disputes involving
The study shows that some riparian states have taken a new
look at groundwater and its relationship to surface water.
Through legislation, distinctions between the two have been
The study also revealed that recent decisions of the Wisconsin
Supreme Court have overturned long standing law regarding groundwater
and surface water through adoption of a reasonable use rule.
The constitutionality of a statute requiring a pemit to divert
surface water was also upheld. These factors taken together with
the legislative enlightenment of other states could indicate a
willingness on the part of the court to accept legislation which
treats all water as an invisible part of the hydrologic cycle and
a proper exercise of the police power.||en_US