News Center

Elsewhere Online twitter Facebook SLS Blogs YouTube SLS Channel Linked In SLSNavigator SLS on Flickr

Water: Outdated Agreements, More Drilling Lead To Escalation In Fights Over Allocation

Publication Date: 
November 07, 2008
Land Letter
Scott Streater

The Land Letter reports that the Supreme Court has appointed Professor Barton H. "Buzz" Thompson Special Master in a water rights case. The Land Letter says:

States across the West are fighting over dwindling water resources, a trend legal experts say will only get worse as they struggle with growing populations and intense drilling activity that consumes a lot of water.

The state of Montana is suing Wyoming, claiming it has violated a decades-old water-use agreement with Montana by withdrawing more water than allowed from two rivers in the Yellowstone River Basin. Kansas is in a legal dispute with Nebraska and Colorado, claiming that landowners in both states have taken much more water from the Republican River than is allowed under their water-sharing compact.


The Supreme Court late last month assigned a special master to oversee the case. Barton Thompson, a California lawyer and the director of the Stanford University law school's Woods Institute for the Environment, will have the power to subpoena information, file reports with the court, set hearings and outline the process for the states to file motions with the court.