Water is essential to all of life. It is regulated by the hydrological cycle, a geophysical system undergoing immense change on account of what atmospheric physicists have termed the "perturbed climate system” of the anthropocene era: ours. Water is also regulated by law--especially, within the United States, by state law, which bears the chief responsibility for allocating and re-allocating water, responsive to evolving demand.
The course will concentrate attention on water allocation under a variety of state law regimes, with a special focus on the law of Texas, our living laboratory for this purpose. A second feature will be Water Watch--a student-generated in-class endeavor through which we will keep tabs on water-related developments in the U.S. and around the world, including those involving technological and philanthropic news. We will also use sector analysis to understand current demands on water use in agriculture, energy, and the municipal sphere.
The over-all plan is to generate understandings and skills for students who might want to enter the water law field, as well as for those who want to develop a keen awareness of the compelling issues involving water and its allocation in this very challenging time.
Grades will be generated by a blend of three items: a 750-word "op-ed" to be written on a topic of each student's choice; a participatory component; and a floating exam.