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1L - First Year Lesson Topics

Water Law Basics: Rights in Ground Water

Who has the right to pump and use ground water -- the water in underground aquifers? The various states in the United States have used a variety of rules to establish rights in ground water. As a practical matter, some of these rules have created problems because states didn't recognize that ground waters and surface waters are often connected.

This lesson provides a review of the five major doctrines that states have employed to decide who has what rights in ground water.

Water Law: The California System

While most of the states in the country choose between the water law doctrines of prior appropriation and riparian rights, California applies both. This approach to state water law is called, appropriately, the California system.

This lesson gives a brief overview of the California system of water rights. California was the first state to attempt to blend prior appropriation and riparian rights. However, its example can be considered instructive for the modern evolution of water law, because more and more states are trying to blend the best parts of both systems.

Woburn: A Game of Discovery

This lesson is available only in a non-standard lesson format. As CALI updates the format of this lesson, we will continue to make this lesson available to you and your students in its current form because we believe it still has educational value. While this lesson still, essentially, runs as intended, there are potential technical problems: 

Written Agreement Contemplated v. Written Memorialization

This lesson looks at the process of negotiations discussing the terms of a contract when the parties contemplate a final written agreement. Often the intention is to put the terms into a final definitive writing and for the contract not to arise until signed. Other times, parties may actually agree to the terms of a contract with the obligation to execute a final contract in writing containing all the terms agreed upon. When they make such an agreement, this agreement itself may conclude the contract even prior to the signing of the final documents. This lesson illustrates both of these situations and concludes with a sample analysis problem looking at the existence of a contract after oral negotiations.