SOAS University of London

School of Law

Water Law: Justice and Governance I

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

Note that for Development Studies students, this module is offered together with its companion module Water And Development: Conflict and Governance taught in Term 2. While the two modules are separate units, they are conceived jointly and both co-taught equally by Professor Mollinga and Professor Cullet. Law students have the option of taking either these two units or the year-long course Water Law and Development: Conflicts, Governance and Justice. There is no difference in the content of the course.

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