Scarcity of water, high population density, power imbalances, and climatic stressors are the main factors that push countries towards either cooperation (technical or political) or disputes in transboundary river basins. This presentation will focus on how the United States Supreme Court addressed three-decades-long disputes between states over shared rivers. In these cases, the Court utilized the legal doctrine of equitable allocation to resolve these conflicts. However, the Court looked only at single-use irrigation. It has been almost one hundred years since the original terms of the Colorado River Compact were negotiated in 1922, nevertheless, its basic framework has not changed. Going forward, water scholars and other scientists have a much bigger role to play in resolving disputes. They must communicate their scientific findings to those who can use them to shape equitable long-term solutions for the river.
Itzchak Kornfeld, Ph.D., has been engaged with hydrology or geohydrology, since 1978. His first position was with U.S. EPA, in both its Clean Lakes Program and Superfund program. He then shifted to the oil and gas business, where he was an environmental geologist. Subsequently, he earned three law degrees and has litigated numerous environmental and water disputes. Dr. Kornfeld has taught at a number of laws schools across the world, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.