Don't Go in the Water: On Pathological Jurisdiction Splitting

01 Jan 2020

Waters and water rights have endured (or induced) a uniquely pathological tendency in our tradition to split up the authority to declare the operative legal interests therein. By studying three seemingly unrelated areas of waters and water rights law, this tendency is brought out in its essence and linked to explicit foundations and likely causes. Ultimately, this kind of extreme jurisdiction splitting is rendering our waters ungovernable, forcing even the most basic legal questions to go undecided. The last part of the article introduces three different reform pathways but cautions against the search for quick fixes of any kind.