emphasizing its practical effect upon interstate compacts. On
October 90, 1950,the Supreme Courtgranted the petition."
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Under it,
federal authority is limited to those powers expressly delegated
and such as may reasonably be implied from those granted. All
,other powers are reserved to the states or to the people. The
Federal Government is paramount in its own sphere.
COMMEaRC PowER.-Federal commerce authority compre-
hends navigation, and Congress has jurisdiction over all navi-
gable waters of the United States. In addition, it may exercise
its commerce jurisdiction both as to the upper nonnavigable
reaches of a navigable waterway and as to the nonnavigable
tributaries thereof, if the navigable capacity of the navigable
waterway is affected or if interstate commerce is otherwise
Commerce power also includes flood protection and water-
shed development. It may be employed to authorize construc-
tion of navigation and flood-control dams, at the same time
providing for federal generation an4 sale of power. Similarly,
Congre~ may permit nonfederal development of water power
upon conditions which need not be related to navigation. For
its authority over waterways is as broad as the needsof com-
merce. Many decisions in connection with the exercise of
commerce power are for Congress alone.
A riparian owner under state law may hold title, as between
himself and others outside of the Government, to a part of
the bed of a navigable stream, since the people became sov-
ereign following the American Revolution and thliu held abso-
lute rightlto navigable waters and the beds under them, sulect
to those rights surrendered to the Government in the Constitu-
tion. From this latter paramount qualification evolved the
general rule that the United States does not have to compen-
SState of West Virgiia ex rel. Dyer v. Sims, October Term, 1950, No.
147, U. S. -.
sate for destruttion .f interests over which, at the point of
conflit..it has a superior uavigation.~ae#timt the ioerois
of lwhieh occasions the damage. r
-i kae-the United. States has a.otreQl u a the water power
inherent in a navigable stream, it islliablo to o one foreits tse
orqonue, andin building a ,d1, it must-pay the jdicially
deternned fair valfor the fast lan taken, buV noting fpr
P PoPiRuIwRY, PowEia-By the Property Clause of tbe,,Cbn-
stitution, Conf ess is etrusted.-,with unlimited authority .to
control the use of federal public lands. The United States has
acquired :lands an jadightsi to the use of wtter, in, several waira.
While states may adopt legislation respecting the character of
rights to use of water whichniay be acquired in streeais under
Stheirdpminion, they may p~~, by lqgis5 4on and] withot the
consent of Congress, destroy the rights of th~United States, as
t ~ owner of 1~ds borlerjg a stream, to thle continued flowof
it water, sopfar a lead ast y be necessary for he beneficial
uses ot the government prop.ty .
By legislation in 1866 and 1870, Congress recognized as valid
the appropriation system governing use of water- whih had
grod'(ri along the occupants of public larids under A1peciil
liar local necessities of. their conditiin. 711 statute de-
cares tlat all nonna e streams upon apefci d public lands
in the West shall remain and be held free for the appropriation
and use of the public, subject tq existing ts, As owner
of the public domain, the United States had the power to dis-
loe of the land a~ d water thereon together or separately.
The Property Clause became the foundion for the 1902
Reclamation Act, the v4dity of wich ha bn staied. in
the efe case where ia been tested. Section, 8 of that Ap,
apart from any constitutional requirement, has recently been
hld id constitute an ecti6n iby Congress to "reo e an
statereated rights and to take them under its power of
eminent domain." Thus, where such rights are necessary in
carrying out the Act, they must be purchased or condemned as
authorized by Section 7.
.Thi Property Clause has additional importance in connec-
tionvith electric power. The power of falling water at aifed-
eral dam comes into exclusive federal control, with the right
to convert it into electric energy constituting federal property
which may be sold or ltsed.
WAR POWER.-The scope of this power in relation to water
resources is largely uhe~plored'by tie judiciary. Construted
in. the exercise of war and commerce powers, tfie Wilson Dam
and'power plant were held adapted to the purposes.of national
defense. Even though.there was no intention to use the nitrate
plants or hydroelectric units for production of war materials
in time of peace, their maintenance in operating condition and
the assurance of an abundant supply of energy in'event of war
were held to constitute national defense assets.
TREATY-MAAKxING _POWER.-Treaties have existing and po-
tential significance, particularly as to international streams.
Also, by treaties with western tribes of Indians, the United
States has reserved rights to use of waters and exempted them
from appropriation under state laws.'
I 4EEALr-pELFAj POWE_.-Thie authority to provide for the
general welfare of the United States is a delegation of pqwer
separate from and not restricted by other delegations of power
enumerated in the same section of the Constitution. Recently,
the Supreme Coirt said that the only limit here is that the
power must be exercised for the common benefit as distin-
guished from some mere local purpose.
EQUITABLE APPORTIONMENT.-In. the disposition of water
controversies between states, the Supreme Court has applied
the principles of equitable apportionment. On the basis of
equality, of rights, this doctrine fit' the decision to the facts of
the controversy, without adherence to any particular formula.
INTERSTATE COMPACTS.-Apportionment of waters of inter-
state streams is the purpose of most existing interstate compacts
concerning water resources. Apportionment thus accomplished
is binding upon the citizens of the compacting states and all
water claimants, even where the state had granted water rights
before entering into the compact.