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Water Law

B768 is taught by R. Fischman

This course meets the graduation requirement for an upper-level course in which writing is used as a means of instruction.

Water Law explores the ways in which the United States addresses conflicts over water use. This course examines the legal control of water resources, focusing on water& 039;s special status as partially public and partially private property. Topics include riparian water rights (eastern U.S. water law), prior appropriation water rights (western U.S. water law), historical evolution of water rights, federal water rights, the public trust doctrine, recreational uses, and groundwater use. With the exception of riparianism, most of the water law issues arise from disputes in the western United States; however, water scarcity is increasingly an issue in the East. Though the class will discuss the intersection of water quality and quantity concerns, Water Law focuses on access and allocation policy. Students principally interested in water pollution should take Introduction to Environmental Law instead.

Most class sessions will be discussion oriented. Law students will work on problems with graduate students studying public administration and environmental science (future agency officials and expert consultants). The graduate students take the same class under a different, cross-listed number and will be graded on a separate curve.

Class grades will be based on a variety of assessments, emphasizing frequent, short writing assignments. There will be no final exam.

Most required reading will be from the case book, LEGAL CONTROL OF WATER RESOURCES (6th ed. 2018), by Thompson, Leshy, Abrams, and Zellmer, ISBN 978-1-68328-983-8.