Professor Cosens to Discuss Water Resources Management

Barbara CosensBarbara Cosens, visiting scholar from the University of Idaho College of Law, will discuss integrated water resources management at 5:15 p.m. April 4 at the University of New Mexico School of Law. Her talk is part of the school's 2011-12 Natural Resources Speaker series. The title of her talk is, “Opportunities and Pitfalls for Achieving Integrated Water Resources Management in Native American Water Right Settlement Negotiations: the Walker River Mediation.” Cosens is visiting at the UNM School of Law's Utton Transboundary Resources Center for the spring semester.

Integrated water resources management is a phrase used to describe both substantive and process elements related to changes in water management. Substantive elements include measures to achieve a more equitable distribution of water development benefits and greater coordination among the currently fragmented federal, state and local approaches to addressing endangered aquatic species, water quality, water allocation and land use planning in riparian zones. Process elements focus on transparency and meaningful public involvement. 

Native American water right settlement negotiations provide an opportunity to achieve integrated water resources management to the benefit of the communities that rely on shared watersheds and the ecosystems they support.

Cosens’ talk will describe the efforts to achieve the substantive elements of integrated water resources management in the Walker River Mediation (California, Nevada, Walker River Paiute Indian Reservation) and the failure due to lack of attention to process. It will also introduce a current collaboration among the University of Idaho Waters of the West Program, the Utton Center and the American Indian Law Center to develop an electronic repository of Native American Water Right Settlements and associated documents so that others can learn from these creative efforts.

Cosens is a professor at the University of Idaho College of Law and a member of the faculty of the Waters of the West Program. She teaches Water Law, Water Policy, Law and Science, and a leads a team taught course in Interdisciplinary Methods in Water Resources. Her research interests include the integration of law and science in water resource management and dispute resolution, water management and resilience, and the recognition and settlement of Native American water rights.

The April 4 lecture, free and open to the public, will take place in Room 2402 and has been approved by the New Mexico Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board for one hour of general CLE credit. Parking is free in the law school (L) lot.

The lecture is sponsored by the Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section of the New Mexico Bar, the UNM School of Law Environmental Law Society and the Natural Resources Journal.

March 19, 2012