A Comparative Analysis of the Public Trust Doctrine for Managing Water in the United States and India
Appears as Chapter 2 in Routledge Handbook of Water Law and Policy, Eds., Alistair Rieu-Clarke, et al. (2016 Forthcoming).
19 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2016 Last revised: 10 Nov 2016
Date Written: 2016
The public trust doctrine has survived over the millennia to adapt to changing societies and water management challenges. It provides an overarching governance theory for the shared water commons. The doctrine establishes that the government holds waters in trust for the use and enjoyment of the public. The scope of which waters are held in trust and which activities or interests are protected public rights has evolved over time. This chapter compares the use of the doctrine in the United States and India. Whether contesting access to the beach for recreation in the United States or protection of scarce drinking water resources for a rapidly growing and urbanizing population in India, the courts have applied the doctrine to guard against privatizations, impose a continuing duty to sustainably manage shared resources, and protect long-term intergenerational equity.
Keywords: water, public trust doctrine, Sax, India, US, sustainability, privatization, administrative law, natural resources, public interest, intergenerational equity
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