The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

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Spring 2014 - Water Law

Cohen, Jane M

Course ID: 479M  Unique # 29623  Credit Hours: 4
Meeting DaysTimesLocation
   Tuesday 10:30 am - 11:37 am JON 6.257
   Wednesday 10:30 am - 11:37 am JON 6.257
   Thursday 10:30 am - 11:37 am JON 6.257
Exam Type   Date   Time      Name Range   Room  
Registration Information
This course is restricted to upper division students only.


Water is essential to all of life.  Its ceaseless movement, known as “the hydrological cycle”, is governed by global forces and conditions.  Yet our domestic legal regime, governed by federal, state, tribal, and local sources of authority, was developed largely in ignorance of the water cycle on the basis of practices and demands that differed historically and regionally in marked ways.  This does not make for a legal system that is well-adapted to the changes in private rights and obligations or public policies that are wheeling into focus on account of contemporary conditions that include developing scarcities, major population shifts, pitched conflicts between and among water rights holders, and severe weather events —including the extreme drought that Texas, among other states, is in.  These conditions, the conflicts they are inspiring, and the difficult decisions that they will engender will deeply affect everyone, not only those who may intent to practice law in this field.

To develop an introductory understanding of the stabilizing and de-stabilizing forces within water law and policy, we will examine both water law as it has come to be and the pressures on it that are being created by water issues that are the subject of new or renewed conflicts, and we will explore one or more of the scientific discoveries about the water cycle that could provide the basis for major policy shifts.  For some of these purposes, Texas will be our living laboratory.  We will learn about its current water crises from local experts in the field. 

This course does not conflict or overlap with "Smnr:  Water Law & Policy for the 21st Century".  In other words, students who took "Smnr:  Water Law & Policy for the 21st Century" may also take this course for credit.

Related Course Areas
Modern Water Law: Private Property, Public Rights, and Environmental Protections - Robert Adler, Robin Craig, Noah Hall
  Foundation Press
  ISBN: 978-1609302320   (required)