Water Law

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
TUE, THU 11:50 am - 1:05 pm TNH 3.127

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


This survey course in U.S. water law and policy traces these subjects from their influential pre-colonial origins through their nineteenth century development into the very different allocational regimes of the Eastern and Western states—both, still standing-- to their twentieth century re-birth within a cooperative-federalist schema of water quality regulation to their current entanglement in a large complex of no-longer-duckable issues and problems-- a stew that is the legacy of ideas, norms, and practices that resisted change for too long. These issues and problems include the over-exploitation of water resources; climate-driven droughts and floods and their ties to impervious cover excesses and dams; the chemical infiltration of the public water supply; chronic underinvestment in infrastructure; and confrontations with matters of principle, including environmental justice and the human right to water, to name a few. The uneasy meld of water law’s past, present, and future, accounted for under the drivers of policy, principle, and politics, are what this course is about.  

            Some attention will be given to Texas water law and policy. This will include guest presentations by Texas experts from different fields.

            Methods will include lecture; individual and team-led class participation; and some “deep dives” into matters of extended exploration. Class members will be encouraged to apply their diversity of disciplinary training and interests to the subjects at hand and to adopt a pet topic or theme for the term, if they wish. There will be one very brief paper-writing exercise and a final paper on an instructor-approved topic, both subject to graduate-school standards of review, in lieu of an exam.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

No materials required


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