Comparative Water Law Course

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Comparative Water Law Course


Tentative Agenda

Stanley Bronson

, Executive Director, Florida Earth Foundation, West Palm Beach, FL

Garth Redfield , Ph.D., Chief Scientist, South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, FL

Keith Rizzardi , Esq., Asst. Prof. of Law, St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami Gardens, FL


PERIOD 1: TUESDAY, May 21, 2013

Lecture 1.1:   Introduction: South Florida Water Management and Water Law

10 min: Redfield, Rizzardi and Bronson     

Objectives for the introductory lectures and expectations for students

                        5 min: Q&A on course structure and goals

Lecture 1.2:   History of Water Management in South Florida: Nature to a Managed System

30 min: Redfield

Eras in the evolution of water management over the last 100 years in South Florida

                        15 min: Q & A and discussion international examples attempting to deal with past engineering and land-use problems in water management

Lecture 1.3:   Legal Framework of Water Management

                        30 min: Rizzardi

                        The legal and regulatory framework for water management in Florida stressing lessons learned. Considers regulation, public works, and preservation to either meet criteria, complete projects or preserve unimpaired ecosystems, all with value disputes and litigation.

                        10 min: Q & A and discussion of international examples of governmental roles.


PERIOD 2:TUESDAY, May 21, 2013


Lecture 2.1    Competing Demands for Water: Agriculture and Urban Water Supply

                        20 min: Bronson

                        A brief history of urban and agricultural water supply is provided in a water management system with competing interests in flood control and environmental needs.

                        10 min: Q&A and discussion of international examples of competing demands for limited water resources.

Lecture 2.2    Florida’s Everglades Forever Act: Initial Steps towards Restoration

                        30 min: Redfield

                        Phosphorus, water quality and legislative mandates are reviewed and programs to address regional problems are introduced including stormwater treatment areas, best management practices and funding mechanisms.

                        10 min: Q & A and discussion of international projects for water quality.

Lecture 2.3    Implementing the Clean Water Act in Florida

                        20 min: Rizzardi

                        The regulatory push for clean water is reviewed, considering the effectiveness of the ‘hammer’, the variance, the law and the money.

                        10 min: Q & A and discussion of the Clean Water Act framework as a blessing or a curse when applied to other nations.



PERIOD 3: WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2013

Lecture 3.1    Comparative Ecosystem Restoration - Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee

                        40 min: Redfield

A.    The Kissimmee River Restoration will be outlined and reasons for its successful implementation will be highlighted.

B.     Programs designed to restore Lake Okeechobee will be summarized along with challenges facing such a large watershed management project.

                        15 min: Q & A and discussion of examples of ecosystem restoration and management challenges worldwide.

Lecture 3.2    Innovations in Environmental Planning for the Future

                        30 min: Rizzardi & Redfield & Bronson

                        Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project, CERP, limited progress  

                        Dispersed Water Storage & Treatment, attempting a ‘Room for the River’ approach

                        Conservation easements in the Northern Everglades

                        15 min: Q & A and discussion of new approaches to ecosystem management


PERIOD 4: WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2013

Lecture 4.1    Global Climate Change and Water Policy Implications

            15 min: Redfield

                       The SFWMD White Paper

                           Water supply & salt water intrusion

                           Flood control

                           Storms & the coastline

            15 min: Rizzardi

                       The South Florida Climate Change Compact

                            Local intergovernmental coordination & limits of mitigation

                            Federal & global failure

                            The unspoken word: retreat

            15 min: Q & A and discussion of examples of international projects addressing climate change adaptation.


Lecture 4.2    Concluding Thoughts

15 min: Bronson and Redfield

                        Some conclusions and recommendations for study and consideration.

30 min: Open discussion on topics of interest in environmental management

Utility and application of models

Governmental and stakeholder roles

Legal issues





1.      Advance Reading

·         Lecture materials will be available electronically to all participants by May 1, 2013.


2.      Topics for in-class discussions following each lecture.

Each student should contribute at least one international example from the following general topics related to the lectures:

·         Nations undoing or struggling with past engineering projects

·         Instances where nations are struggling with ineffective regulations

·         Examples of water resources projects that ran out of money or other resources

·         Instances in which stakeholders drive the governmental decision-making process

·         Examples of new approaches to ecosystem restoration and management

·         International projects addressing climate change adaptation

3.      Reception and Poster Session at IHE , TUESDAY EVENING, May 21, 2013

·         Substantial interaction with students from other nations

·         Discussion of water resources disputes across the globe

·         Recognizing the importance of information in long-term problem solving





TUESDAY (PM) Law students visit Rijkswaterstaat

            Learning objectives:

·         History of water management in the Netherlands

·         Legal context in European Union

·         Tensions between flood control and climate change


TUESDAY (PM) Law students visit The Hague

            Learning objectives:

·         Browse exhibits at museum


WEDNESDAY (PM) L aw students visit Room for the River

            Learning objectives:

·         Accomodation of nature instead of resistance

·         Understanding the roles of engineering and land acquisition

·         Realizing the financial consequences

·         Legal disputes over Room for the River and the Dutch approach


WEDNESDAY (PM) Law students visit Biesbosch National Park

Learning objectives:

·         Historic flooding in the region as motivation for park creation

·         Understanding Dutch perspectives on ecosystem protection vs. human uses


THURSDAY (AM) Law students visit Kinkerdijk (IHE students travel to Tampa / South Florida)

            Learning objectives:

·         Windmills as a window into historic insights on reclamation

·         Disputes over competing uses

·         Impact of technology shifts upon water management


THURSDAY (PM)  Law students visit Rotterdam

            Learning objectives:

·         The importance of dredging and access to the busiest port in Europe

·         Pollution control techniques

·         Futureland, and the tension between civil works project needs and environmental impacts

·         Legal disputes over Futureland and the Dutch approach


FRIDAY (AM) Law students visit Watersnoodmuseum, Zeeland

            Learning objectives:

·         The history of flooding in the Netherlands and construction of the system

·         Insights into the Dutch perspectives on and emphasis of water resource management

·         Legal disputes over the projects and the Dutch approach


FRIDAY (PM) Law students visit the Delta Project, Zeeland

            Learning objectives:

·         Site visit to one of the world’s civil engineering marvels

·         Understanding the massive scale and expense of civil works construction projects