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Tough Choices

Endangered species are keeping some landowners thirsty

In the arid West, water has always been scarce. To limit wars over this lifeblood, states during the 19th-century mining era began issuing to some of their landowners legal entitlements to a share of the water flowing through rivers and lakes. Called water rights, these formal entitlements now pass down, with the land, from owner to owner as a form of property.

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