Waterbury v. Washington came to the Connecticut Supreme Court as a dispute over water rights that could have been resolved via a number of statutory or common law doctrines. Instead, the court sought to articulate a uniform theory of riparian law in Connecticut, acknowledging all of these competing doctrines. This uniform theory was one of regulated riparianism. After articulating this standard, the court left many decisions to be worked out by lower courts. Since Waterbury was decided, those lower courts have struggled to incorporate a view that reconciles the public trust doctrine in light of Connecticut’s statutory scheme. Many of these struggles will need resolution before important public trust questions in Connecticut can be approached with a sense of certainty.
Terence H. McAllister,
Connecticut’s Evolving Views of Riparian Rights and the Public Trust,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.
E. Supp. 29