Thursday, June 6, 2013

All the Groundwater Law you Always Wanted to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask

Courtesy of a link from Property Prof Blog I was led to this fantastic primer on Groundwater Law from Prof. Joseph Dellapenna at Villanova law.  One of the points he emphasizes, which I strongly agree with, is the idea that the shifting terminology used by courts has resulted in tremendous confusion about the nature of property rights in groundwater in most, if not all, jurisdictions.

When I tried to switch from being a scientist to being a lawyer I struggled mightily with the concept of creating static law by using words - which are highly mutable.  I came from a world where laws were often defined by equations that incorporated numbers and constants - immutable laws - and tried to find my way in a world where laws are subject to near-constant reinterpretation; words don't always mean the same thing to all people.  Crazy stuff, the law.  Hope you enjoy this article as much as I am.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

New "Green Streets" Policy on the way for Tucson

Image borrowed from
Last week the Tucson City Council considered and approved a new policy that will direct the Transportation Dept. to implement passive water harvesting features on most future road projects within the city.  This policy was largely developed by Watershed Management Group (I'm biased as a former board member of WMG) who put in a lot of effort to build consensus and support for this sensible change in a desert city.  The policy calls for incorporating curb cuts and depressed basins adjacent to roads to collect, filter, and utilize storm runoff for fostering roadside vegetation that will provide shading (heat island reduction) and pollution mitigation (both air and water).  These are remarkably simple modifications that should save water, previously used for irrigation, in addition to reducing the strain on stormwater infrastructure.

Major kudos to the city and to WMG for making this happen.  And I should also mention James MacAdam, formerly with WMG but now working in the mayor's office, who I know was a major impetus in getting this done.