Water is essential to all of life. Its processes are regulated by the hydrological cycle, a geophysical system undergoing vast changes that include the occurrence of severe droughts, floods, melting ice and rising seas due significantly to what atmospheric physicists have referred to as “the perturbed climate system” of the anthropocene era: ours. Other stressors are adding to pressures on the available water supply, especially potable water, locally, nationally, and worldwide and on the most major economic sectors, too.
Water law used to be a sleepy subject, dealing, as it did, in highly traditional terms with the allocation of this resource when supplies seemed plentiful and rights to them could be generous and cheap. This is not the water law of the moment. Today, water law and policy are being called upon to help with the adaptive re-alignment of supply and demand under conditions of necessity, subject to principles that contain inherent tensions and have, until now, largely been honored in the breach. All the while, water law has to serve one of the central functions of law: the peaceable settlement of increasingly serious disputes. These currently include conflicts between and among the states.
We will treat Texas as our living laboratory to gain a close look at how some of the latest issues, especially those concerning water allocation, are unfolding. Whether or not you have an interest in practicing in this field, water law and policy are likely to have an impact on your life and that of your community. Come learn how all of this is beginning to sort out!
Course requirements will be discussed at the first class. There will be an optional floating exam or, in lieu of it, a final research paper or, for those who have already met the writing requirement, a pair of shorter papers.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
10:30 - 11:37 am
Pass/Fail Not Allowed
Modern Water Law: Private Property, Public Rights, and Environmental Protections
- Robert Adler, Robin Craig, and Noah Hall