Innovation and Trends in Water Law
Law is at the center of policy and political issues concerning water. Yet, until relatively recently, water law has often been either sidestepped or considered only through limited lenses in international policy debates. This is changing rapidly, in part because increasing economic, social, and physical scarcity of water is fostering increasing conflicts over access to water. This has led to increasing attention to water law and to significant water law reforms. This chapter provides an overview of the basic structure of water law and analyzes recent reforms, with a focus on developments in India where legal reform has been a central part of water-sector reforms. It highlights some of the most contentious issues surrounding legal reforms, in particular the tension between equity and justice, on the one hand, and efficiency and willingness to pay on the other hand, as well as the broader issue of privatization.