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Connecting federal employees, scientists, educators, and the public with their wilderness heritage

How are water resources managed in wilderness?

New dams and water development structures, other than those necessary for range and wildlife, can only be authorized by the President. Existing reservoirs, ditches, water catchments and related facilities for the control or use of water can be maintained or reconstructed if they meet a public need, or are part of a valid existing right. Motorized equipment and mechanical transportation for maintenance of water development structures is not allowed unless it was practiced before the area was designated wilderness or unless it is determined to be the minimum necessary tool or technique. Watershed restoration is permitted only where human activities have caused soil deterioration or other loss of wilderness values, where watershed conditions could cause unacceptable environmental impacts or threaten life or property outside the wilderness, and where natural revegetation is insufficient.