Skip to content

Fall 2024 Course

Water Law

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: In Class

Water law has been described as managing 21st century problems with 20th century technologies while applying 19th century laws. This is an overstatement, but not far off the mark. We will explore the mix of federal and state regulatory regimes governing a resource that is sometimes scarce, sometimes abundant, and always essential to life. Course coverage includes the origin, development, and current status of prior appropriation and riparian water law systems; groundwater management; the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act; interstate allocation; the public trust doctrine; Indian and other federally reserved water rights; and international water disputes. We will pay particular attention to how the different management regimes address the challenges posed by climate change and the possible futures of water law.