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School of Law

Water Law: Justice and Governance

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Term 1

This course is offered together with its companion course Water and development:conflict and governance taught in Term 2. While the two courses are separate units, they are conceived jointly and both co-taught equally by Professor Mollinga and Professor Cullet.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, a student will be able to demonstrate the ability to understand and analyse issues concerning water law and policy, conflicts and governance from a broad perspective encompassing their economic, social and environmental dimensions. Students will acquire knowledge of basic concepts and principles underlying the regulation, management and conservation of water, focusing on national, regional examples in the international context in which governance evolves and the increasing importance of conflicts in the water sector.

Scope and syllabus

This course examines water law and policy in the broader context of the governance framework that is increasingly influenced by conflicts over the resource. It seeks to provide students with a broad understanding of the multi-faceted issues arising in the water sector from the local to the international level. It uses national case studies, as well as regional international issues to analyse the multiplicity of issues arising in the water sector.

The course focuses on the law and policy framework. It examines water law as a separate branch of the law, its sectoral development and its basic principles. It addresses the multiplicity of legal instruments making up the water regulatory framework, ranging from constitutional issues to laws, judicial pronouncements and policy instruments. Further, it considers water law in its evolving dimension that includes both a set of policy reforms and a range of new water laws progressively introduced since the mid-1990s. It further considers the links between the law and policy framework at the national level, the water policy framework at the international level and some of the mechanisms and institutions that ensure the transition from the international to the national level. This general part is followed by forays into specific sectoral issues. These include consideration of the law and policy framework for different water uses such as drinking water as well as different water bodies such as surface and groundwater. These issues are contextualised with a focus on issues that are most relevant for each sector.

This course provides a complement to the offering in environment and natural resource law in an area that is increasingly central both in terms of conservation and use.

Method of assessment

Assessment Weighting: 60% unseen written examination and 40% coursework (one 4,000 word essay).