Dividing the Waters is for judges who adjudicate water litigation. The “conveners,” judges with experience in water adjudication, lead the program and invite other judges to join. But any judicial officer is welcome to join the network when adjudicating a case related to water.
For more information, contact either Steve Snyder, executive director, or Joy Lyngar, provost of The National Judicial College.
Dividing the Waters believes that judges can best make these important public resource decisions with the support of other judges who know how to navigate water conflicts. Always adhering to the Canons of Judicial Conduct, the program helps both federal and state judges:
Share information about how the different states and courts have structured and conducted stream adjudications and other complex water law litigation.
Discuss problems in conducting these adjudications and cases, from legal and logistical to intellectual and political.
Learn what works and what does not work, so other judges do not have to make the same mistakes.
Benefit from expertise of technical and scientific resource people who are involved in the many subject areas involved in water cases.
Build a water knowledge network where judges, masters and referees develop lasting personal and professional relationships.
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.
Dividing the Waters 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. Some participants specialize in water litigation and others have a long history 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.
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.
Dividing the Waters was founded in 1993 with the support of the Ford Foundation. For more than 20 years, various foundations funded the program with Hewlett and Bechtel leading the way. Today, the program seeks to diversify its funding with support from state governments, its Board of Advisors, and regional foundations.
Beginning as a discussion forum on western water right adjudications, the program has evolved to address the most critical water issues facing judges today: climate change, water quality, endangered species and growing cities. Its 2007 affiliation with The National Judicial College and its interaction with the Federal Judicial Center allow the program to offer the latest expertise, methods and technologies for state and federal judges assigned to water litigation to build their understanding of the complex issues in front of them. Dividing the Waters has begun extending its reach to regions where water conflicts are relatively new and may benefit from the network’s experience.
Academic Freedom Statement
Dividing the Waters provides a forum for judges to discuss issues in a manner that allows them to best serve the public and the judicial system. In order to encourage open discussion and debate among judges, Dividing the Waters maintains the confidentiality of such discussions, consistent with the Canons of Judicial Ethics, while adhering to The National Judicial College’s Academic Freedom Statement.