POLSCI 323 - Introduction to Water Law and Policy
Section: 001
Term: WN 2019
Subject: Political Science (POLSCI)
Department: LSA Political Science
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.

POLSCI 323 - Introduction to Water Law and Policy
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0140178244
Cadillac desert : the American West and its disappearing water, Author: Marc Reisner., Publisher: Penguin Books Rev. and u 1993
ISBN: 1559634006
Water follies., Author: Robert Glennon., Publisher: Island Press 2004
ISBN: 9780870715662
Water in the 21st-century West : a High country news reader, Author: Char Miller, editor., Publisher: Oregon State University Press 2009
ISBN: 9781634603133
Water Law: Concepts and Insights Series, Author: Robin Craig, Robert Adler, Noah Hall, Publisher: Foundation Press FIRST 2017
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for POLSCI 323 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Office of Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)