Next week (February 18-20) is the American Bar Association’s 27th Annual Water Law Conference in San Diego. The theme is “Change in the Midst of Constants: Adapting Water Law to Meet New Demands” and the agenda looks fantastic. Here’s the blurb:
The 27th Annual Water Law Conference will focus on change and adaptation at a time when diverse demands on water resources are straining both the availability of this precious resource, and the ways in which established water law can flex to meet changing needs. The conference will focus on changing operations, balancing competing demands, and the legal, technical, and public policy tools available to meet challenges of increased demands on water, water scarcity, and climatic shifts.
There will be four principal focuses at the conference. First, there will be a focus on the re-balancing underway in water law, including defining and delineating the scope of water rights. This will include an in-depth discussion of the negotiation, structure, and implementation of interstate compacts, and the reaches of federal reserved water rights for Indian tribes and federal agencies and how those rights may be applied to groundwater resources. Another focus will be on changes occurring in surface and groundwater management through presentations covering reservoir operations, aquifer storage and recovery techniques, and the effects of the EPA’s NPDES Water Transfers Rule. A third focus will be on adapting to the consequences of climatic change and the increasing competing demands for water resources. This will include panels on the interplay between water and energy, the use of private water trusts to address environmental needs, and the national and global need for innovation and adaptation to address changed climatic conditions and increasing demands during a time of great public deficits. Finally, throughout the conference, there will be a focus on practical legal skills, including a panel addressing the best utilization of experts and consultants.
I’ll be speaking in the first session on the Great Lakes Compact and general challenges and opportunities in interstate water management. The session will be moderated by Owen Olpin, the former Farr Professor of Law at the University of Utah, and Special Master overseeing Nebraska v. Wyoming. There will be a keynote presentation by the Honorable Gary King, Attorney General of the State of New Mexico, and Thomas A. Zlaket, former Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, will be discussing the limits of zealous advocacy in complex water use disputes. Check out the conference brochure for more details. As a bonus, the conference is being held at the amazing and historic Hotel del Coronado on the Pacific Ocean. I love Michigan winters, but a few days of sun and beach sounds pretty nice right now.