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Inter-State Water Law in the United States of America

What Lessons for International Water Law?

In: Brill Research Perspectives in International Water Law
Author:
Rhett B. LarsonRichard Morrison Fellow in Water Law, Associate Professor of Law at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and Senior Research Fellow, Kyl Center for Water Policy, United States

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Abstract

The rich field of inter-state water law in the United States illustrates both successes and failures in transboundary water management and allocation. This monograph analyzes the three general approaches to water allocation between riparian states to certain shared watercourses in the United States, namely equitable apportionment, congressional apportionment, and inter-state compacts. This analysis is accompanied by a discussion and evaluation of the different cases of shared watercourses that applied these approaches, and a comparison of each of them to similar approaches in international water law. The monograph draws lessons for international water law from inter-state water law—highlighting the successful inter-state approaches that can be adopted by international water law, as well as the approaches that failed, and which should be avoided.

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