Document Type

Symposia Article


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 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 as a means of water dispute resolution. The first case is the adjudication of water rights in the Gila River basin in Arizona. Improved forestry management could increase water supplies and help resolve this decades-old dispute, but Arizona law should reconsider how property rights are assigned to such increased supplies and what legal mechanisms could encourage investment in forestry management. The second case involved disputes over water resources in refugee host communities in Lebanon and Jordan. The influx of Syrian refugees into cities in Lebanon and Jordan can give rise to water disputes. Laws in the countries can be reformed to facilitate water augmentation and thereby provide increased supplies to refugee host communities.



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