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§22-4-16. Water rights and replacement; waiver of replacement.

(a) Nothing in this article affects the rights of any person to enforce or protect, under applicable law, that person's interest in water resources affected by removal of mineral resources.

(b) Any permittee shall replace the water supply of an owner of interest in real property who obtains all or part of the owner's supply of water for domestic, agricultural, industrial or other legitimate use from an underground or surface source where the supply has been affected by contamination, diminution or interruption proximately caused by the mineral removal and associated activities, unless right of replacement is waived by the owner or unless the water supply is furnished by a public service district, municipality, government entity or some other third party.

(c) A public service district, municipality, government entity, or other party may contract with a permittee to obtain water and waive the replacement of water supply if contamination, diminution, or interruption should occur.

(d) If the director determines that: (1) Contamination, diminution or damage to an owner's underground water supply exists; and (2) the contamination, diminution, or damage to the underground water supply could not be due to seasonal variations, or other possible causes, then the permittee shall upon receiving written notification from the director: (A) Provide an emergency drinking water supply within twenty-four hours; (B) provide a temporary water supply within seventy-two hours; (C) provide a permanent water supply within thirty days; and (D) pay all reasonable costs incurred by the owner in securing a water supply: Provided, That the permittee is entitled to recover the cost of replacing an owner's water supply if it is determined that contamination, diminution, or damage to the water supply was not caused by mineral removal activity of the permittee.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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