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Full-Text Articles in Law

Subsurface Tension: The Conflicting Laws Of Texas And New Mexico Over Shared Groundwater And New Mexico’S Desire For Regulation, Kameron B. Smith Feb 2020

Subsurface Tension: The Conflicting Laws Of Texas And New Mexico Over Shared Groundwater And New Mexico’S Desire For Regulation, Kameron B. Smith

Texas A&M Law Review

A recent oil boom in Southern New Mexico has resulted in increased hydraulic fracturing operations in the region and, as a result, a steady and reliable supply of water to fuel such operations is required. As New Mexico regulations make it difficult to acquire a steady supply of water within the state, oil and natural gas producers are turning to unregulated areas in Texas, which permit unlimited pumping of groundwater. However, this groundwater is being pumped from the Pecos Valley aquifer, which is the same source of water that New Mexico is regulating within its borders. This issue is only …


Specialization Trend: Water Courts, Vanessa Casado-Pérez Mar 2019

Specialization Trend: Water Courts, Vanessa Casado-Pérez

Faculty Scholarship

Definition of property rights is not useful unless there is an enforcement system, either public or private, that backs it up. While the definition of property rights as a solution to the tragedy of the commons has been carefully analyzed in the literature, the enforcement piece has been somewhat overlooked. Water is becoming scarcer and conflict is rising. As a result, the need for an efficient and fair enforcement system is more necessary than ever due to climate change.

Given the complexity of water law and the backlog in the judicial system, introducing specialization in the resolution of water cases …


Drought And Public Necessity: Can A Common-Law "Stick" Increase Flexibility In Western Water Law?, Robin Kundis Craig Jan 2018

Drought And Public Necessity: Can A Common-Law "Stick" Increase Flexibility In Western Water Law?, Robin Kundis Craig

Texas A&M Law Review

Drought is a recurring—and likely increasing—challenge to water rights administration in western states under the prior appropriation doctrine, where “first in time” senior rights are often allocated to non-survival uses such as commercial agriculture, rather than to drinking water supply for cities. While states and localities facing severe drought have used a variety of voluntary programs to reallocate water, these programs by their very nature cannot guarantee that water will in fact be redistributed to the uses that best promote public health and community survival. In addition, pure market solutions run the risk that “survival water” will become too expensive …


New Water For Water Dispute Resolution, Rhett B. Larson Jan 2018

New Water For Water Dispute Resolution, Rhett B. Larson

Texas A&M Journal of Property Law

Water scarcity often leads to water disputes. New water supplies—such as bulk water imports, desalination, cloud seeding, or increased stream flows from improved forest management—can mitigate water scarcity and thus help avoid water disputes. However, new water supplies can also aggravate water disputes if not developed in concert with legal reforms. This Article evaluates the role of new water in two cases of water disputes in arid regions and proposes legal reforms to promote new water as a means of water dispute resolution. The first case is the adjudication of water rights in the Gila River basin in Arizona. Improved …


Water Valuation And Utility Rates, Amy Hardberger Jan 2017

Water Valuation And Utility Rates, Amy Hardberger

Texas A&M Journal of Property Law

As I’ve worked on this topic, it really has evolved. I was thrown into land use, but land use opened my eyes to new water tools. Nationwide there is a shift towards conservation of water and water sustainability. Land use might be the “ace-in-the-hole,” not the simple act of turning the water off when you brush your teeth—even though I want you to do that.

What’s important when talking about how we are going to survive, is “where are we going?” Because cities are so overpopulated, we are moving out of rural areas and into cities. This has caught the …


Inefficient Efficiency: Crying Over Spilled Water, Vanessa Casado-Pérez Dec 2016

Inefficient Efficiency: Crying Over Spilled Water, Vanessa Casado-Pérez

Faculty Scholarship

As the drought in Western states worsens, the agricultural sector is being criticized for failing to adopt technical responses, such as shifting to less water-demanding crops and state-of-the-art irrigation systems, in a timely manner. However, these responses can have the reverse effect: they can increase water consumption. Technological responses alone are insufficient to reduce water consumption if unaccompanied by changes in how the law defines and allocates water rights. This paper proposes a redefinition of water rights to ensure that changes in crops or irrigation techniques are socially efficient.

In the West, which uses the doctrine of prior appropriation to …


All Dried Out: How Responses To Drought Make Droughts Worse, Vanessa Casado-Pérez Jun 2016

All Dried Out: How Responses To Drought Make Droughts Worse, Vanessa Casado-Pérez

Faculty Scholarship

Water usage is governed through a variety of mechanisms, including government administration and market tools. In 2006-2008 Barcelona’s region, a water scarce area, suffered a drought comparable to the one faced today by the US West. This article surveys a variety of techniques which were or could have been used to address these scarcity challenges. Spanish water regulations established water markets in 1999 but neither the design, nor its implementation were optimal. In addition to the design and implementation flaws, the response to the 2006-2008 drought crisis shows how emergency measures highjack water markets as a viable solution to water …


Drugs On Tap: Managing Pharmaceuticals In Our Nation’S Waters, Gabriel Eckstein Sep 2015

Drugs On Tap: Managing Pharmaceuticals In Our Nation’S Waters, Gabriel Eckstein

Faculty Scholarship

Pharmaceuticals in the environment and public water supplies are believed to have serious impacts on human and environmental health. Current research suggests that exposure to certain drugs and their residues may result in a variety of adverse human health effects. Other studies more conclusively show that even minute concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the environment can have detrimental effects on aquatic and terrestrial species. Unfortunately, the cost of removing these pernicious substances is out of the financial reach of most municipalities and wastewater and drinking water treatment operators.

Despite the concerns, little effort has been made to develop broad management, mitigatory, …


Water Scarcity, Conflict, And Security In A Climate Change World: Challenges And Opportunities For International Law And Policy, Gabriel Eckstein Mar 2009

Water Scarcity, Conflict, And Security In A Climate Change World: Challenges And Opportunities For International Law And Policy, Gabriel Eckstein

Faculty Scholarship

Although climate change is expected to have major consequences that affect the global environment in its broadest sense, one of the earliest and most direct impacts will be on Earth’s fresh water systems. While some regions will experience increased precipitation, others will suffer serious scarcity. Among others, consequences are likely to include severe flooding, extreme droughts, and meandering border-rivers. This, in turn, will affect human migration patterns, population growths, agricultural activities, economic development, and the environment. This article explores the impact that climate change will have on regional and global freshwater resources and the resulting legal and policy implications that …