SOAS University of London

School of Law

Water Law and Development: Conflicts, Governance and Justice

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Full Year

This module 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 module 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 course is open to all Postgraduate Taught Students at SOAS.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • 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.
  • Demonstrate 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


  • Weekly 2 hour lecture

Method of assessment

  • Two essays, each worth 35% of the total mark (each 3000 words)
  • Two book reviews, each worth 15% of the total mark (each 1000 words)

Suggested reading

  • Black, M with R Talbot, Water – A Matter of Life and Health (New Delhi: Oxford, 2005).
  • Boisson de Chazournes, Laurence, Fresh Water in International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • Cullet, P, Water Law, Poverty and Development – Water Law Reforms in India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Iyer, R (ed), Water and the Laws in India (New Delhi: Sage, 2009)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules