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New water for water dispute resolution: Tribal water disputes in Arizona and refugee host communities in Lebanon and Jordan

Rhett Larson, Arizona State University

Tue 10 July 2018

11:00am - 12:00pm

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


Water scarcity often leads to water disputes. New water supplies—such as bulk water imports, desalination, cloud seeding, or increased stream flows from improved forest management—can mitigate water scarcity and thus help avoid, resolve, or mitigate water disputes. However, new water supplies can also aggravate water disputes if not developed in concert with legal reforms. This Article evaluates the role of new water in two cases of water disputes in arid regions and proposes legal reforms to promote new water a means of water dispute resolution. The first case is the adjudication of water rights in the Gila River basin in Arizona, including the long-standing water dispute between the Hope Tribe and the Navajo Nation.  The second case involved disputes over water resources in refugee host communities in Lebanon and Jordan. In each case, development of new water faces legal obstacles and environmental concerns that must be overcome if those augmented supplies are to help address ongoing water disputes.

About the speaker

Rhett Larson is a Morrison Fellow in Water Law and associate professor in the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. He is also a faculty fellow in the Center for Law and Global Affairs, and the Center for Law, Science, and Innovation. He is a senior research fellow with the Kyl Center for Water Policy at ASU's Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

Professor Larson’s research and teaching interests are in property law, administrative law, and environmental and natural resource law, in particular, domestic and international water law and policy.

Professor Larson’s research focuses on the impact of technological innovation on water rights regimes, in particularly transboundary waters, and on the sustainability implications of a human right to water. He works on dispute resolution and improved processes in water rights adjudications in Arizona and the Colorado River Basin with the Kyl Center for Water Policy. Professor Larson was a visiting professor and Fulbright Scholar at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, and works in the Middle East on water security issues.

Professor Larson also practiced environmental and natural resource law with law firms in Arizona, focusing on water rights, water quality, and real estate transactions.

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