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Given the prime importance of water in all human activities, available water resources need to be protected, conserved, and managed in terms of both quantity and quality, for which water legislation becomes critical. Two important issues water law deals with are the ownership of water resources and the nature and distribution of water rights (which are usually usufructuary rights).

Early codifications related to water are found in the Pharaonic Water Regulations (of ancient Egypt), in the Laws of Manu (or Manava-Dharma-Shastra) in India, in the Hammurabi Code (of Babylon), in Chinese water regulations, and in Roman and Moslem law. The philosophy of the early water regulations depended (as it still does today) on geo-climatologic and physical factors, as well as on the social, technical, economic, and ...

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