March 18, 2023 4:00 PM to 5:15 PMUptown Campus
Water is a fundamental part of the places where it naturally occurs; it is woven into the geology, ecology, cultures, and economies of those places. But more than ever before, the balance is shifting across the country between where water resources are and where people are demanding they be. This will inevitably spur some to relocate to where the water is, but many are increasingly searching for water to be brought to them. This panel will examine the legal and policy dimensions to facilitating or protecting against these inter-basin transfers from various perspectives. Professor Gregor MacGregor, professor of Environmental Law at the University of Colorado Boulder, will discuss his perspective on the legal landscape surrounding diversion, and the unique concerns that water scarcity poses. The unique concerns are largely based in nuances of the legal system of prior appropriation, and further complicated by seeking to divert water from a riparian system. Such transfers would also have to conform with interstate agreements (e.g., Colorado River Compact, Upper Mississippi River Basin Charter, Red River Compact) and may raise commerce clause and privileges and immunities clause issues if states move towards viewing water sources as transferable commodities.