The Business of Water (LAW 2508)
One of the fastest growing economic sectors is the water field, and private water companies are playing an increasingly important role in improving water management around the world. In some cases, however, the involvement of private companies in the water sector has also proven controversial (e.g., when private companies have taken over public water supply systems in developing countries such as Bolivia). This course will look at established or emerging businesses in the water sector and the legal, economic, and social issues that they generate. These businesses include investor-owned water utilities, water technology companies (e.g., companies investing in new desalination or water recycling technologies), water-right funds (who directly buy and sell water rights), social impact funds, innovative agricultural operations, water concessionaires, and infrastructure construction companies and investors. Each week will focus on a different business and company. Company executives will attend the class session and discuss their business with the class. In most classes, we will examine (1) the viability and efficacy of the company's business plan, (2) the legal and/or social issues arising from the business' work, and (3) how the business might contribute to improved water management and policy. Each student will be expected to write (1) two short reflection papers during the course of the quarter on businesses that present to the class, and (2) a 15-page paper at the conclusion on the class on either a water company of the student's choice or a policy initiative that can improve the role that business plays in improving water management (either in a particular sector or more generally). Elements used in grading: Attendance, Class Participation, Written Assignments, Final Paper. Cross-listed with Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE 273B).
Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail