ENVIRON 324 - Introduction to Water Law and Policy
Section: 001
Term: WN 2019
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: SNE Program in the Environment
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Previous course in Environment, Political Science, or Public Policy.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The course explores how societal values, scientific knowledge, and political priorities inform U.S. water law and policy.

How is it possible, living next to the largest surface freshwater system in the world, that we are facing water shortages? What are the threats to our nation’s water? This course will search for the answers to these and related questions by examining the cultural, historical and political roots of U.S. water law and policy. In particular, we will look at water law and policy governing riparian states, prior appropriation states, tribal lands and groundwater. In addition, the course will examine the role of population growth, energy and climate change in formulating current and future water policy. In order to understand the underlying motives and cultural values influencing the multiple stakeholders, policy makers and regulators, we will look at a variety of materials ranging from art, media and literature to key statutes, legal opinions and reports. Students will develop the skills to identify the historical precedents and values informing ongoing water debates and problems, analyze key statutes and opinions, evaluate solutions, and present a position.

Course Requirements:

Student performance will be evaluated through (1) two preliminary exams, comprised primarily of scenarios based on similar cases discussed in the course, which ask students to identify the key legal and policy issues and suggest possible solutions (60%); (2) one legal brief and oral argument in which teams debate an interstate water conflict based on their individual briefs (30%); and (3) active participation comprised of attendance/class discussion and regular entries in the chat rooms. In preparation for the prelim problems, students will receive and analyze sample scenarios in class. In order to prepare the legal "brief," students will receive and assess a sample student brief and be required to submit a rough draft a week before their oral argument.

Intended Audience:

Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors with interests in sustainability, the environment, water, public policy, and/or law.

Class Format:

Lecture and discussion format which meets two times a week for 90 minutes.

ENVIRON 324 - Introduction to Water Law and Policy
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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