The present entry addresses the issue of the sharing or allocation of transboundary water in today’s drought-filled climate impacted era. It is premised on a simple and irrefutable truth: essentially, the leaders of most of the States of the Union and nation-states have failed to put to use that which they learned or should have learned in kindergarten: “sharing everything” and “playing fair”. This behavioral paradigm has caused numerous conflicts over water resources.
Consequently, courts have had to act as interlocutors or “third persons”, who are routinely called upon to resolve water allocation disputes because the parties are simply unable to do so. And so it was in the long drawn-out United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) case of Kansas v. Colorado, filed under Court’s original jurisdiction, whose subject matter was the allocation of water from the Arkansas River. (Figure 1). That case is revisited here.
A. The Road Not Taken
A subsidiary issue outlined here is a set of suggestions that include a number of sustainable legal and extra-legal approaches that policy-makers may wish to take, once they realize that people are not the sole beneficiaries of the earth’s water. Nature too has an entitlement for water. This direction is the road not yet taken. Indeed, as was noted in 1845,
“Man cannot have an effect on nature, cannot adopt any of her forces, if he does not know the natural laws in terms of measurement and numerical relations. Here also lies the strength of the national intelligence, which increases and decreases according to such knowledge. Knowledge and comprehension are the joy and justification of humanity; they are parts of the national wealth, often a replacement for the materials that nature has too sparcely dispensed.”