This course provides an overview of how states allocate and regulate surface water and groundwater across the United States. It introduces students to the differences between riparianism and prior appropriation systems for surface water, with special emphasis on California's unique blend of these two systems, and the five common-law systems and multiple statutory systems (including California's) for allocating groundwater. Other topics in the course include federal reserved water rights and the federal government's role in water allocation, the public trust doctrine, interstate water disputes, constitutional "takings" litigation involving water rights, and the many intersections between state water law and federal environmental statutes, including the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Students taking this course have the option of completing a research paper that fulfills the upper-level writing requirement instead of a final exam, if they choose.
Grading OptionsNumeric or CR/D/F
Exam TypeTake-home Exam, or Paper
Writing RequirementYes, with submission of the Upper Division Writing Requirement Form