Water Resources Law Specialization

​​​​In the face of drought, pollution, and population growth, water has become both more scarce and more in demand than ever. As vital resources are stretched to new limits, the world will need laws and policies that direct the wise, sustainable use and distribution of water.

Students involved in Water Resources Law learn about local, national, and global efforts to protect water supplies through research, education, and policy development. The focus rests on water law, environmental justice, and policy initiatives to further judicious use of water as a publicly-held and shared commons. Courses include:

A cohort of the nation’s leading water law professors and lawyers constitute the water speciality, including Professors Melissa Scanlan, author of the Blueprint for the Great Lakes Trail, John Echeverria, author of “The Intersection of Water Law and Takings Doctrine”, Pat Parenteau, author of several chapters in Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy, and Jack Tuholske, who directs the Water and Justice Program.

Water and Justice​​

The Water and Justice Program focuses on water law, environmental justice, and policy initiatives to further shared use of water as a public, common-pool resource. Student research associates contribute to reports, conference presentations, legal analyses, and articles to support the program’s work. Faculty, staff and students meet regularly to discuss their research and learn about cutting-edge litigation and policy initiatives in the world of water law. Students also have the opportunity to learn, research, and propose solutions to a wide range of applied efforts involving water law.

Program projects include:

  • Public interest water research and advocacy, with a special emphasis on fostering application of the public trust doctrine, by working with local, regional, and national NGOs to further public rights in water
  • Partner with the University of Toledo School of Law to publish a report entitled “Moving Forward: Legal Solutions to Lake Erie’s Harmful Algal Blooms” in 2015, with a follow-up report in progress
  • Working with NGOs in Montana, Massachusetts, and elsewhere to further their water resource protection efforts
  • Supervising students interested in the water law curriculum, which includes courses in Water Resources Law, Water Quality, and Watershed Management and Protection, as well as a Certificate in Water Law