Professor Jesse Richardson Speaks at Cardiff University

West Virginia University law professor Jesse Richardson spoke at Cardiff University on Monday, May 20, 2019. Professor Richardson was hosted by the Environmental Justice Research Unit at the University's School of Law and Politics. His talk was titled "The Post-Colonial Evolution of Water Rights: A comparative look at India and the United States".

From the abstract:

Both India and the United States adopted the English common law for water rights upon gaining independence from England, although these events occurred 171 years apart (1776 in the United States, and 1947 in India). By the time India gained independence in 1947, many states in the United States had already evolved away from the English common law for water rights, particularly with respect to groundwater. However, to this day, most states in India have not altered the English common law, despite several prominent problems. This presentation explores the evolution (or lack thereof) of water rights in both countries and attempts to explain the stark differences. In general, most states in the United States either declined to adopt the English common law rule in the first place, due to the drastically different conditions in England versus those states, or evolved away from the English common law in certain ways. India, on the other hand, has generally stuck with the original English common law rules, sometimes with disastrous results. The presentation then moves to a discussion of statutory and policy changes to the common law in each country. Both countries have utilized a form of “regulated riparianism” by adopting policy, statutory and regulatory programs to supplement the common law. Finally, the presentation discusses the status of the English common law water rights rules in England and hypothesizes about the different paths taken by each country.