Here’s a new western water blog worth adding to your RSS feed

Reed Benson, a University of New Mexico law professor whose patient explanations and deep writing have been extraordinarily helpful to my understand of things like the doctrine of prior appropriation and the Endangered Species Act, has joined the blogoworld:

It has come to my attention … that a lot of people do not read law review articles. This shocked me, of course, because who wouldn’t like reading an in-depth, 60-page analysis of water law, fortified by about 300 footnotes? I am told, however, that there are millions of otherwise decent and reasonable people who forego that pleasure.

His rationale for the choice of the blog’s name – Wester River Law – is instructive:

So why call the blog westernriverlaw, not something more familiar like westernwaterlaw? Partly because traditional “western water law” has an old-school connotation, emphasizing property rights and maximum extractive development of water resources, and this blog will take a broader view of water in the West….

I also chose to call it westernriverlaw because rivers matter for their own sake, not simply as conduits for water supplies. In the West, flowing rivers are important ecologically, economically, and recreationally. Those values have always gotten short shrift in western water law, but today they can no longer be ignored or neglected. The name westernriverlaw suggests that any discussion of water policy needs to have a focus on what it means for the river.

Worth adding to your RSS feed reader.