Graham Sustainability Institute

Water Law

LAW 761

The course in Water Law examines in depth the laws and methods by which the use of water, both surface water and groundwater, is allocated in the United States. It is quintessentially a class about water quantity in which water quality plays a limiting role. The text for the class will be Legal Control of Water Resources by Joseph Sax, Barton Thompson, John Leshy, and Robert Abrams, 4th ed., 2006. Topics of study will include: riparianism, prior appropriation, the five distinct doctrines that states apply to groundwater use, public rights in water, allocation of waters of shared basins, and federal water rights, and international water management. In the examination of the law in each of those areas, themes that relate water law to larger issues of development and economic policy will be considered. Roughly two-thirds of the material will have more direct and immediate applicability to the Western, more arid part of the nation. Even so, the East is becoming ever more "water-constrained" and faces increasing need for laws that better allocate the water resource.

Fall 2009
Winter 2011
Winter 2012
Fall 2012
Winter 2014
Winter 2016