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LAW 2519: Water Law

This course will study how society allocates and protects its most crucial natural resource -- water. The emphasis will be on current legal and policy debates, although we will also examine the history of water development and politics. Although the course will focus on United States law and policy, insights from the course are applicable to water regimes throughout the world, and we will occasionally look at law and policy elsewhere in the world for comparison. Among the many issues that we will consider are: how to allocate water during periods of scarcity (particularly as climate change leads to more extremes); alternative means of responding to the world's growing demands for water (including active conservation); the appropriate role for the market and private companies in meeting society's water needs; protection of threatened groundwater resources; environmental limits on water development (including the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the "public trust" doctrine); constitutiona more »
This course will study how society allocates and protects its most crucial natural resource -- water. The emphasis will be on current legal and policy debates, although we will also examine the history of water development and politics. Although the course will focus on United States law and policy, insights from the course are applicable to water regimes throughout the world, and we will occasionally look at law and policy elsewhere in the world for comparison. Among the many issues that we will consider are: how to allocate water during periods of scarcity (particularly as climate change leads to more extremes); alternative means of responding to the world's growing demands for water (including active conservation); the appropriate role for the market and private companies in meeting society's water needs; protection of threatened groundwater resources; environmental limits on water development (including the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the "public trust" doctrine); constitutional issues in water governance; Indian water rights; protection of water quality; challenges to substantively reforming existing water law; and interstate and international disputes over water. Students will be expected to participate actively in classroom discussions. Elements Used in Grading: Class participation, attendance and final exam.
Last offered: Autumn 2019
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