The Historical, Comparative, and Convergence Trifecta in International Water Law: A Mexico-U.S. Example
5 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2013
Date Written: June 5, 2013
Doctrinal disconnects complicate adjudication of international water rights controversies. However, legal history and comparative law sources can fill gaps and build analogies to bridge differences in substantive law. Between Mexico and the United States in particular, the civil-common law divide at times appears vast, but has been occasionally narrowed by reference to shared Roman principles of usufruct or by incorporation of Mexican law into the U.S. system. This article argues that these commonalities can help solve the dispute over the All-American Canal in Southern California, which prior to being lined with concrete by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recharged groundwater supplying Mexican farmers and the endangered Colorado Delta ecosystem. Such meeting places for doctrine suggest that, even in domestic courts, nations need not attempt to resolve international problems through domestic law alone.
Keywords: Colorado River, groundwater, irrigation, Mexico, Roman law, water law
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