Climate change unleashes interstate water wars

E&E News discusses how climate change has unleashed interstate water wars.

A looming Supreme Court showdown over water flows from the Pecos River may be the first in a rising swell of interstate water battles driven by climate change.

The justices had been set to hear Texas v. New Mexico, a dispute over floodwaters that overwhelmed the Pecos River in 2014 and 2015, last month, but the court bumped oral arguments to next term in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Several other battles between states over water from rivers and aquifers could also soon make it to the nation’s highest bench, said Beveridge & Diamond PC principal John Cruden to an audience during a recent conference hosted by the Environmental Law Institute and American Law Institute.

“Because of [climate change], we’re going to see more of these,” he said. “And they’re all going to be hard.”

“Special masters” appointed by the Supreme Court are mediating interstate brawls across the country over water from rivers that feed farms and fisheries.

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