Water Law and Policy for the Twenty-First Century

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
WED 3:30 - 5:20 pm TNH 3.129

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


In this course, we will explore some of the most crucial issues that are emerging in our young century in relation to the use, conservation, and allocation — including the just distribution — of water. At the beginning of the course, we will take up three issues of concern world- wide: scarcity; sustainability; and the international human rights-related campaign for the recognition of a human right to water. Next, we will examine issues that stem from public and private claims to the ownership of water and water resources. In this section of the course, we will attend with some particularity to the development of water law and some of its central doctrines and we will examine the viability of these as mechanisms for the ongoing development of twenty-first-century water law and policy. Within the furthest portion, we will treat Texas, especially central Texas, as our living laboratory. Here, we will consider the efforts of three Texas cities to acquire long-term water rights and to conserve existing resources — efforts that involve dramatically different choices about strategy and expenditure. We will have several local water law experts participate in our work in this regard. As this tour demonstrates, we will be considering new efforts to come to terms with and to site water law and water policy in relation to developing issues in the face of altering realities, both around the world and right close to home. This is a writing course. Students will write three short papers. At least one will be based on materials we will be reading for the course. At least one will be based on research materials to be provided. There will not be a paper based on open research and there will not be an exam. The class will meet together with the upper-level course of the same name, but the 1L group will be graded independently from the upper-level students. There is no prerequisite for this course.