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Water Law Features

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Texas Water District Finds Few Friends in Quest for Water in Oklahoma

Texas Water District Finds Few Friends in Quest for Water in Oklahoma

A water rights case to be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court this week has national implications.

With Locals at the Helm, Kansas Charts New Course for Groundwater Management

As they have been doing for decades, political leaders and water managers in Kansas are upending Western water law traditions that originated before the state was even part of the Union.

Clean Water Act Turns 40 (Part II): A Harvest of Clean Water Exemptions on the Farm

The U.S. farm sector, more productive and richer than ever, is a major water polluter.

Clean Water Act Turns 40 (Part I): Cities Fall In Love With Rivers Again

Today, the Clean Water Act is 40 years old. Though it brought substantial benefits to urban areas, water quality problems — some old, some new — persist in the United States.

Support for UN Water Treaty Accelerates

Progress on the treaty, which deals with transboundary water basins, or those shared by two or more countries, had stalled — until a major conservation group got involved.

Oregon Congressman Proposes Clean Water Trust Fund

Revenue for the fund would come from taxes on containers and waste products.

U.S. Congress to Get Asian Carp Solutions by 2013, Two Years Ahead of Schedule

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is taking steps to speed up its recommendations for keeping invasive species out of the Great Lakes — but will its actions be quick enough to stop Asian carp? Photo by Jason Lindsey By Codi Yeager Circle of Blue By the end of next year, the United States Army […]

U.S. Supreme Court Navigates Waters of Ownership, Clarifies Possession of Missouri River Bottomland

Montana may have lost the bottom, but the state was awarded — and entrusted — all that floats to the top as part of a public trust authority to protect water resources.

Third Time’s Not A Charm: U.S. Supreme Court Again Denies Request to Stop Asian Carp

The Supreme Court denied a request by five states that were calling for immediate action to stop invasive Asian carp from infiltrating the Great Lakes. This is the third time that the court has denied an injunction for the Asian carp case.

Water Law: Public Trust May Be Fresh Approach to Protecting Great Lakes

Canadian and American advocates join to promote big oversight idea of the "commons."

Racing an Arizona Senator’s Retirement, Dry Navajo Nation Draws Closer to Securing More Water

The largest reservation in the U.S. has one of the nation's highest poverty rates — more than 40 percent — and very little water infrastructure. Many residents pay nearly 50 times the municipal cost for water, which instead is delivered from a tank in the back of a truck, often resulting in water-borne intestinal illnesses.

Proposed Nevada Pipeline and Water Rights: Report Describes Worst-case Scenario, State Engineer Hears Case

On Monday, the Nevada state engineer will hear opening arguments in a water-rights case that has been ongoing for more than two decades. If passed, the construction of an extensive infrastructure network could dramatically raise the average monthly water bill for many of the state's residents, as well as impact public lands and endangered species.

Supreme Court Ruling Tests Boundaries of Water Supply and Energy Production Along Montana-Wyoming Border

Montana and Wyoming have taken their transboundary water dispute to the Supreme Court. Wyoming won the first round. But others await in a case that will help decide how much water is really available to generate energy and to produce food in one of the nation’s driest regions, as well as who has access to that water.

FOIA Lawsuit Seeks Release of U.S. Department of Energy’s ‘Water-Energy Roadmap’

The report, one of two ordered by Congress on water and energy, has been delayed for years.

South of the Border—Second Environmental Review of Tar Sands Pipeline Leaves Many Groups Unsatisfied

Residents and lawmakers in Nebraska mull their options for protecting key groundwater sources.

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Water Law Stories

Newest Article

Asian Carp Case Goes to Court as Foundation Pledges $500,000 to Protect the Great Lakes

Invasive Asian carp make a surprise appearance on the Missouri River.

EPA Releases Draft of Clean Water Strategy for Public Comment

The EPA seeks stricter pollution standards and a national water quality assessment.

Lawmakers Pass Bill to Protect Argentina’s Glaciers

Bill passes that will ban mining and oil drilling in Andean ice fields.

Peter Gleick: The California Water Bond — What Does Proposition 18 Really Say and Do?

The costs and benefits of California's largest water bond in a half century have not been fully assessed by an independent organization.

Countries Move Forward with Nile Treaty Despite Egypt’s Objections

A weekend meeting of the Nile basin water ministers does not resolve treaty impasse.

Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Water Territories and the Politics of Scale and Identity

An excerpt from the introductory chapter of Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Politics and Identity, a book on the effect modern society has on water culture and indigenous communities

Environmental Groups Sue BP Under Clean Water Act

Landmark act could be used by the federal government to recover billions in fines, send people to jail.

Clean Water Act Proposal Would Strengthen Federal Protection

Opponents call the proposal a federal power grab, while the bill's author says it would restore the original intent of the landmark water legislation.

Indigenous Groups in Ecuador Protest Water Reform Bill

The water legislation would consolidate too much power in the hands of the government, protesters say.

California Water Board Changes Power Plant Regulations to Protect Aquatic Life

Power plants will be required to change their cooling systems to reduce the amount of water they withdraw from oceans and estuaries as a result.

Nile Basin Countries Fail to Sign River Treaty Again

Egypt and Sudan have rejected the proposed Nile Basin agreement as it stands, while the other seven members vow to press on.

Bolivian Village Wants Compensation for Climate Change Adaptation

Alternative climate summit opens April 20 in Bolivia to address concerns of the world’s poor.

Bid to Protect Michigan’s Groundwater Draws Opposition, Praise

A proposed bill that declares Michigan’s groundwater a “public trust” has set off a storm of controversy, with opponents claiming that the legislation would expose property owners to new state fees.

Peter Gleick: Water and Energy – Obey the Law on Cooling Systems

The connections between energy and water are significant and complex. We use vast amounts of energy to collect, move, treat, use, and clean water. And we use vast amounts of water to produce energy, including for mining, drilling, and processing fossil and nuclear fuels, and especially for cooling power plants.

2009 California Water Plan Published

Report recommends upgrading the state's information base to better user understanding of the water system.

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Water Law Graphics

Newest Article

Infographic: China’s Water Pollution Events and Protection Policies (2004-2011)

Infographic: China’s Water Pollution Events and Protection Policies (2004-2011)

China has some of the dirtiest and most dangerous water in the world. This detailed and interactive timeline shows key pollution events, protests, and policy reforms from the last eight years at both the national and regional levels as China tries to clean up its act.

Infographic: Successes and Failures of China’s Five-Year Plans (1996 -2010)

A breakdown of previous plans gives context to the newly released 12th Five-Year Plan.

Infographic: China’s Water Governance Bureaucracy and Water Legislation Timeline

Demystifying China’s governmental water offices and water-related laws. China’s water is managed by a complex web of ministries, and national, sub-national, and cross-jurisdictional agencies. The dual leadership system—comprised of a territorial and a central government—has a hierarchy in which offices of the two bureaucracies with the same rank cannot issue binding orders to each other. […]

Infographic: State Legislatures Bridge Water-Energy Gap

A look at 16 states with statutes that acknowledge the tightening chokepoint between declining water resources and rising energy demand.

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Water Law International

Newest Article

Update: UN Transboundary Water Treaty Moves Forward As Cote d’Ivoire Approves Ratification

Update: UN Transboundary Water Treaty Moves Forward As Cote d’Ivoire Approves Ratification

Though three more ratifications are needed before the UN Watercourses Convention has the force of international law, advocates assert that four countries are close: Ireland, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

U.S. and Mexico Sign Major Deal on Colorado River Issues: Delta Restoration, Infrastructure, Water Sharing

The agreement marks a turn in Colorado River management. Senior officials from the United States and Mexico signed a broad five-year agreement on Tuesday that marks renewed cooperation over the Colorado River, a desert lifeline that provides water to at least 30 million people, irrigation to top agricultural counties, and electricity to millions — despite […]

Protests Break Out After India’s Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Downstream State in Cauvery River Dispute

A decades-long quarrel over water allocations boils up again during this year's dry summer, ending in farmer protests and increased security.

Make Water A Priority: Former Government Leaders Call on UN Security Council

The time is increasingly right for high-level action, the group’s water policy advisor tells Circle of Blue. Photo courtesy of JC McIlwaine/UN Photo The United Nations Security Council met in October 2011 to hear a report on protecting water and natural resources in Somalia. A group of former world leaders wants the 15-member body to […]

Support for UN Water Treaty Accelerates

Progress on the treaty, which deals with transboundary water basins, or those shared by two or more countries, had stalled — until a major conservation group got involved.

India Supreme Court Again Pushes National River Linking Project to Proceed

This is the second time the court has promoted the mega-project that would link the major rivers in the north with those in the south as a way to better manage water, moving it from areas of perceived surplus to areas without sufficient supplies.

Ecuador and Oil: Chevron Loses Court Appeal Against $18 Billion Amazon Pollution Fine

Closing in on nearly two decades in court, this “David and Goliath” fight seems far from over. Plaintiffs contend that no amount of money can repair the damage to the environment and to the lives of the 30,000 who claim to have been affected, while the U.S. oil company has denounced the Ecuadorean court system […]

James Workman: Mandela’s Global Water Ambassador Dies — A Reflection on South African Human Rights Lawyer, Kader Asmal

When Nelson Mandela named South Africa’s first democratic Minister for Water Affairs and Forestry – a futile effort to keep his outspoken, irascible, chain-smoking friend out of trouble – Kader Asmal claimed ignorance about the rudimentary basics of his new portfolio.

Pakistan and India in Dam Building Race — Interpreting the Indus Waters Treaty

A new era of dam building brings uncertainty to the 50-year-old water truce between India and Pakistan.

Q&A: James G. Workman on the Bushmen’s Fight for Water Rights and 21st Century Hydro-Democracy

Workman says chances of the Botswanian government returning water rights to the Bushmen as 'pretty slim.'

Lawmakers Pass Bill to Protect Argentina’s Glaciers

Bill passes that will ban mining and oil drilling in Andean ice fields.

James Workman: Who Owns the Rain—When Thirsty Democracies Deny Individual Liberty to Water

James G. Workman reflects on a recent ruling that compromises the water rights of the Bushmen.

Countries Move Forward with Nile Treaty Despite Egypt’s Objections

A weekend meeting of the Nile basin water ministers does not resolve treaty impasse.

Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Water Territories and the Politics of Scale and Identity

An excerpt from the introductory chapter of Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Politics and Identity, a book on the effect modern society has on water culture and indigenous communities

Q&A: David Getches on Water Rights for
Indigenous Cultures

"How modern society is affecting our water culture and the rights of indigenous communities."

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Water Law U.S.

Newest Article

Who Will Pay for Disposal? Drug Companies Lose Against Local Governments in California and Washington

Who Will Pay for Disposal? Drug Companies Lose Against Local Governments in California and Washington

Though there still is no continuous national program to properly dispose of the 10 to 40 percent of prescription and over-the-counter medications that go unused, a few local governments in California and Washington are leading the charge to find sustainable funding sources.

Texas Water District Finds Few Friends in Quest for Water in Oklahoma

A water rights case to be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court this week has national implications.

With Locals at the Helm, Kansas Charts New Course for Groundwater Management

As they have been doing for decades, political leaders and water managers in Kansas are upending Western water law traditions that originated before the state was even part of the Union.

What an Emergency Manager Might Mean for Detroit’s Water Utility

There are many questions and few conclusions right now about Detroit’s water system. Photo courtesy of Flickr/CC esynchronicity Music lovers congregate at Hart Plaza Fountain in downtown Detroit during the Movement Electronic Music Festival in May 2012. Click image to enlarge. By Brett Walton Circle of Blue On March 1, after reviewing a state audit […]

National Integrated Drought Information System Threatened by Budget Uncertainty

Only 75 percent of allocated funds have been awarded since Congress created the drought-warning program seven years ago, and future funding remains unclear as NIDIS prepares for Capitol Hill on Thursday.

2012 Election Results: U.S. Voters Favor Water

Yesterday, American voters in many states and cities around the nation supported hundreds of millions of dollars in water infrastructure investment.

2012 Election Guide: Obama and Romney Say Little About Water, But Important Decisions Await Voters

One week from today, on the first Tuesday in November, American voters will not only choose their representatives. In many states and cities, those casting ballots will also make decisions about their water supply.

Oregon Congressman Proposes Clean Water Trust Fund

Revenue for the fund would come from taxes on containers and waste products.

U.S. Congress to Get Asian Carp Solutions by 2013, Two Years Ahead of Schedule

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is taking steps to speed up its recommendations for keeping invasive species out of the Great Lakes — but will its actions be quick enough to stop Asian carp? Photo by Jason Lindsey By Codi Yeager Circle of Blue By the end of next year, the United States Army […]

U.S. Supreme Court Navigates Waters of Ownership, Clarifies Possession of Missouri River Bottomland

Montana may have lost the bottom, but the state was awarded — and entrusted — all that floats to the top as part of a public trust authority to protect water resources.

Agriculture and Sewage Dead Zone: Taking on Nutrient Pollution in the Mississippi River Watershed

As the impact of agriculture on water quality intensifies around the globe, two lawsuits in the United States aim to reduce the size of the Gulf of Mexico's ‘dead zone’ by setting limits on nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin.

Third Time’s Not A Charm: U.S. Supreme Court Again Denies Request to Stop Asian Carp

The Supreme Court denied a request by five states that were calling for immediate action to stop invasive Asian carp from infiltrating the Great Lakes. This is the third time that the court has denied an injunction for the Asian carp case.

Advance of the Invader: Asian Carp Continue March to Northern Waters

Live carp have been found in North Dakota and past the electric barriers in Chicago. As the carp push forward, Michigan and other Great Lakes states are once again asking the U.S. Supreme Court to speed up action to stop the advance of the invader.

Racing an Arizona Senator’s Retirement, Dry Navajo Nation Draws Closer to Securing More Water

The largest reservation in the U.S. has one of the nation's highest poverty rates — more than 40 percent — and very little water infrastructure. Many residents pay nearly 50 times the municipal cost for water, which instead is delivered from a tank in the back of a truck, often resulting in water-borne intestinal illnesses.

Supreme Court Ruling Tests Boundaries of Water Supply and Energy Production Along Montana-Wyoming Border

Montana and Wyoming have taken their transboundary water dispute to the Supreme Court. Wyoming won the first round. But others await in a case that will help decide how much water is really available to generate energy and to produce food in one of the nation’s driest regions, as well as who has access to that water.

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