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Copyright (c) 2015 South Carolina Law Review
South Carolina Law Review

SPEECH: KEYNOTE ADDRESS: THE ROLE OF THE COURTS IN WATER LAW

Spring, 2015

South Carolina Law Review

66 S.C. L. Rev. 581

Author

Barton H. Thompson *

Excerpt

It is a great privilege to be here this evening. I want to commend the South Carolina Law Review for putting together this symposium on some of the major water law issues facing South Carolina and the nation today. The Law Review has chosen an important and timely topic. In the western United States we care a great deal about water, and water is something we have spent a lot of time talking about and arguing about for decades. Except for water quality, water issues have been less important historically in the East and Southeast. That is changing in the face of population growth and climate change. The South Carolina Law Review is in the vanguard in its recognition of the importance of water to all parts of the nation.

The first thing you should know about me is that water runs in my veins. I come from southern California, specifically Los Angeles. My maternal grandfather; however, came from a region of California called the Owens Valley in the eastern Sierra mountains, about 250 miles northeast of Los Angeles. When Los Angeles outgrew its local water supplies at the turn of the twentieth century, the city decided to import water from the Owens Valley by a gravity-fed aqueduct. Many in the Owens Valley resisted the city's water grab, and the ensuing controversy between Los Angeles and the Owens Valley became the gist for the movie Chinatown, a 1978 movie directed by Roman Polansky and starring Jack Nicholson and ...
 
 
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