Will the public trust doctrine swamp your water rights?


Author:  Damien M. Schiff

Any attorneys out there interested in some MCLE credit are welcome to tune in to a webinar this Friday, at 12 pm PDT, hosted by the Real Property Law Section of the California State Bar.  I'll be debating  Jennifer Maier, of the Environmental Law Foundation, about whether the public trust doctrine applies to groundwater.  The debate arises from an ongoing lawsuit, Environmental Law Foundation v. State Water Resources Control Board, in which the plaintiffs argue that the state and counties must regulate groundwater use with an eye to its effects on instream values in navigable waters.  I hope to show that extending the doctrine to groundwater use would be bogus because (1) there is absolutely no historical basis for so doing, and (2) such an extension would amount to a compensable judicial taking of water rights.  The event promises to be informative and entertaining.