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Sustainability Dialog: Water Rights or Rights to Water

By June 5, 2023July 3rd, 2023No Comments
Date: Monday, July 24, 2023
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Where:  ZOOM

On May 22, California, Arizona, Nevada and Native Nations agreed to temporary restrictions on their allocations of the Colorado River as a last-ditch effort to stabilize the Lake Mead and Powell reservoirs. It is a preview of the bigger long-term renegotiation of the Colorado River Compact to come. Crucially, it also unveils a fundamental problem with western water law- the uneasy coexistence of private property rights to use water “beneficially” and the doctrine that water is held in the public trust for all human kind and ecosystems. In times of abundance, there is no conflict. In times of scarcity, losses are not merely economic, they are real. In California, can we and should we redefine our role as stewards of this shared resource, and how do we get there?

About the speaker: Jeff Hanlon is an Associate professor of Political Science at Whittier College specializing in Environmental and Water Policy. He is the Division 3 Board Director at Three Valleys Municipal Water District, representing the cities of Claremont and La Verne.