Dividing The Waters 2018-05-15T10:18:55+00:00

May 17-18 | The National Judicial College
Judges New to Water Invited

Fundamentals of Water Law & Science

The Future of Water Law

An Interview with Justices
Ronald B. Robie and
Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr.

DTW Water Justice Fund

Ensure resources are there for your next water judge

Free DTW webcasts

View the webcasts here

Dividing the Waters

A Resource for Judges Resolving Water Conflicts

Upcoming Events

Prior Appropriation and Surface Water
May 4, 2018 12 p.m. PST | Online Webcast | View Recording
Want an introduction to (or refresher overview of) the prior appropriation doctrine and how users of surface water establish water rights under that doctrine?During this one-hour webinar, esteemed faculty Professor Robin Craig of the University of Utah will work through the basic tenets, rules, and terminology of prior appropriation, including a bit of history of why and how western states adopted prior appropriation in the first place.

It will explore such issues as:

  1. Where did prior appropriation come from?
  2. How did different western states come to adopt prior appropriation?
  3. What do we mean by “first in time, first in right”?
  4. How does a water user establish an actual water right?
  5. What is beneficial use and why does it matter?
  6. What are the components of an appropriative water right?
  7. Why is priority important, especially during drought?
  8. What does it mean when a “senior water rights holder” “calls the river”?
View Recording

Fundamentals of Water Law & Science
May 17-18 | Location: The National Judicial College | Tuition: $149* | The NJC will provide lodging for all participants**
Dividing the Waters invites all judicial officers who are new to water to participate in the upcoming fundamentals workshop.  Nevada judges will receive a special invitation.  Topics include the law, science, adjudication practice, and relationships with state and federal governments.  For more information, please contact the Executive Director, Alf W. Brandt, at ALFIII@sbcglobal.net.

This foundational course will equip water law adjudicators with the skills needed to effectively handle general stream and water-related cases. The course will cover different kinds of water conflicts with sessions on law, science, management, and relationships. Using interactive modalities, participants will track the water adjudication process from the initial prehearing conference to decision writing. An online learning component is included to provide participants the opportunity familiarize themselves with water law terminology and concepts in advance of the course.

After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Effectively manage a complex water law case;
  • Evaluate scientific and economic evidence with confidence; and
  • Draft a sustainable water law judgment.

Click here to download the agenda. 


*Tuition fee will be waived for Nevada Judges. Nevada judges are eligible for up to $300 airline/mileage reimbursement. Non-Nevada judges can apply for a scholarship to cover the fee and up to $300 for travel.
**Some exclusions may apply. Lodging will cover two nights – May 16 and 17.  

Join the Dividing the Waters Network

If you would like to join the network of those who care about adjudication of water conflicts and receive the Program’s monthly Network Note, please contact Rebecca Bluemer: bluemer@judges.org.  If you would like to share information about Dividing the Waters, please feel free to download our materials about the Program or the Water Justice Fund and send them to friends.

The Vision

Dividing the Waters prepares the judges of today and tomorrow — across the nation — to apply the law, science, good judgment and wisdom in efficiently and effectively adjudicating water‐related cases, to meet human and environmental needs.

The Dividing the Waters Program connects judges, special masters and referees who preside over complex water litigation to the information and training resources they need to resolve some of the most difficult disputes about how to allocate and share this most precious and communal resource.

Dividing the Waters offers judicial officers with water cases an opportunity to collaborate as a network with a vast array of knowledge of water resources, law and management. The Program relies on judges helping judges. The network includes judges, special masters and referees who preside over water adjudications and other complex water litigation. Some specialize in water litigation and others have a long history of experience with a complex water case. The newest members of the network may have just recently received their first assignment of a water case. All are welcome. Our members include both state and federal judges, as well as other judicial officers who contribute to judicial adjudication of water conflicts.

Mission Statement

Dividing the Waters offers the network and the resources to help judicial officers adjudicate complex water cases. We accomplish this mission through:

  • Education. DTW improves judicial understanding of the complexities of water law, management and adjudication through educational programs, at conferences and workshops offered in person and/or via webcast. The education topics include water law and management, science and technology, and effective case management.
  • Networking. DTW facilitates understanding through judge-to-judge interaction that fosters strong personal and professional relationships among judges who share a common practice in water conflicts. The Program will build and strengthen that network through conferences, mentoring, and web-based connections.
  • Information Resources. DTW will develop and offer information resources that are helpful to judicial officers who adjudicate water conflicts. These resources include publications (books and pamphlets), webcasts, connections to other reputable organizations offering resources, and timely summaries of key appellate court decisions.