SOAS University of London

School of Law

Water Law: Justice and Governance I

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

Note that this module offered together with its companion module Water Law: Justice and Governance II (Term 2). The two modules are separate units but they are conceived jointly and both co-taught equally by Professor Mollinga and Professor Cullet. 
For Development Studies students, note that course Water Resources: Justice and Governance (Term 1) is the same course as the present course and Water and Development: Conflict and Governance is the same course as Water Law: Justice and Governance II. There are different titles for administrative reasons but the course is the one course taught jointly by by Professor Mollinga and Professor Cullet.

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.

This module takes up various aspects of the regulation and governance of water. This includes looking at the rights framework, including rights over water and the human right to water. Further, we examine national and international dimension of water management, cooperation and conflicts. Another part of the module focuses on ongoing reforms of water law, policy and governance, including specific focus on important sectors, such as irrigation, groundwater or wetlands and specific water uses, such as drinking water.

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

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • To equip students with 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.
  • To provide students with 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

  • Coursework: 70% (3000 words)
  • Coursework: 30% (1000 words)

Suggested reading

  • Bryan Randolph Bruns & Ruth S. Meinzen-Dick eds, Negotiating Water Rights (London: ITDG, 2000).   
  • Philippe Cullet, Water Law, Poverty and Development – Water Law Reforms in India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Farhana Sultana & Alex Loftus  ed., The Right to Water – Politics, Governance and Social Struggles (Abingdon: Earthscan, 2012).
  • Peter P. Mollinga, Ajaya Dixit & Kusum Athukorala eds, Integrated Water Resources Management: Global Theory, Emerging Practice and Local Needs (New Delhi: Sage, 2006).
  • Peter Mollinga & Alex Bolding eds, The Politics of Irrigation Reform – Contested Policy Formulation and Implementation in Asia, Africa and Latin America (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules