Model Interstate Water Compact

By Jerome MuysMarilyn O'LearyGeorge Sherk



Over the last two decades, there has been a significant increase in bitter struggles over the supervision of interstate water systems throughout the country. The resulting legal actions have been of increasing concern to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, chaired by New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici. In 2000, as a result of Senator Domenici's efforts, the University of New Mexico Law School received funding for the Utton Transboundary Resources Center to draft an interstate water compact to address these disputes.

Conferences conducted at the Center brought together lawyers and scientists from across the nation to discuss and offer insights into the complex water issues. The result is the Model Interstate Water Compact, which encourages states to assume oversight of trans-boundary resources, especially water, avoiding the inefficiency and expense of legal action. In addition to the authors' proposed model, there is a complete cross-referenced listing of existing interstate water compacts in the appendix.

Contributor Bios
Jerome C. Muys is president of Muys & Associates, P.C. in Washington, D.C. Muys is past chairman of the American Bar Association's section of Energy, Environment and Resources Law. He has most recently served as a consultant to the Texas state Attorney General regarding interstate issues on the Rio Grande.
Marilyn C. O'Leary is director emeritus of the Utton Transboundary Resources Center in the University of New Mexico College of Law. She is the author of Negotiating Rate Cases and Other Difficulties and coauthor of Pueblo Indian Water Rights.
George William Sherk is an associate research professor in the Environmental Science and Engineering Division of the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, and an adjunct professor at the University of Denver College of Law. Sherk also maintains a limited private practice and consults on international water law and policy issues.