Tuesday, May 8, 2012: 1:10 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Royal Ballroom C (Hyatt Regency Orange County)American water law is based on principles and assumptions dating back to the middle of the 19th century. Although that law has helped enable development across the western states, it has struggled to address the many problems posed by unsustainable groundwater supplies. For example, declining groundwater supplies have forced gains in water conservation and efficiency, but often with negative consequences. Also, obtaining replacement sources of water for an aquifer presents hydrological and engineering challenges that do not arise with surface systems. From a regulatory standpoint, the problem of unsustainable groundwater supplies does not fit well with long-established approaches to a damaged resource supply. Ultimately, the problem of an unsustainable groundwater supply questions a core concept in American law—the permanence of real property rights, and the legal protections afforded them. This session will explore these problems from a variety of legal and hydrological perspectives.
Burke Griggs and Angela Schenk