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Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy
Tulane University Law School
6329 Freret St
New Orleans, LA 70118-6231

Institute News 

Code Blue: Bill Calls for Louisiana Water Code and Limits on Groundwater Pumping

It had to happen one day. Louisiana would get around to figuring out that there are limits even to its water abundance. That day is not yet here but it is getting closer if a bill introduced State Senator Dan Claitor clears the Louisiana Legislature. Senate Bill 634 would direct the Louisiana State Law Institute (LSLI) to create a Water Code Committee to frame a draft water code by 2017, an ambitious time line. The bill would also limit new groundwater wells starting in August 2017. The catalyst for the fill is a recently completed report by the Louisiana LSLI Water Committee that both summarized the state of Louisiana’s current water law (much was found unclear or lacking) and recommended a water code might be in order. (Disclosure: Tulane Institute director Mark Davis served on that water committee).

New Study Measures Revenue Created by Coastal Master Plan

Everybody seems to like the idea of restoring ecosystems (curiously often more that conserving them) but the work tends to be frightfully expensive. Finding the dollars to do “restoration work” (often times “rehabilitation” would be a more accurate term) is hard to do in these days of tight budgets (case in point the proposed cuts in federal water spending) and deep skepticism of governmental programs. But a new report issued by former University of New Orleans Chancellor and economist Timothy Ryan, PhD. makes the case that restoration spending will yield jobs and revenues well in excess of the cost the restoration work—in coastal Louisiana at least. Without commenting on the report itself we do note that it does commendable service for the putting the cost of implementing these public works efforts into their context. The ultimate question should not be what is their cost but rather is there a benefit worthy of the investment. The report was commissioned but, according to Dr. Ryan, not influenced by the advocacy group Restore Louisiana Now, Inc.

Tulane Water Law at State of the Coast 2014

Institute Director Mark Davis will be a busy man at this week's conference. He is a panelist in the following sessions:
Building Resiliency Workshop I. March 18, 10:30-12:00.
Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan. March 18, 1:30-3:00.
Tulane University's Grand Challenge-Water Innovationers to Reduce Hypoxia and Restore Water. March 19, 12:00-1:30
The Master Plan's Dark Matter: the Non-Structural Program (Panel Discussion). March 19, 3:30-5:00.

Institute Program Manager Chris Dalbom will be slightly less busy and is a panelist and presenter for The Master Plan's Dark Matter: the Non-Structural Program (Panel Discussion). March 19, 3:30-5:00.


Institute Hires New Postgraduate Fellow

We are pleased to announce that Tulane Law School class of 2013 grad Harry Vorhoff has begun his twelve month fellowship this week.  Harry is a native New Orleanian (because fellow New Orleanians are asking in their heads right now, he went to Ben Franklin HS) who already has varied experience with water law and water management in New Orleans.  Harry worked with us as a student researcher and did extensive work as part of the team who crafted the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan for managing water in the city.  He is also Vice-President of Friends of Lafitte Corridor.  Welcome, Harry!


Institute and Director Mark Davis Featured in New Documentary "MRGOing, GOING, GONE"

The new documentary “MRGO-ING, GOING GONE?” traces decades of efforts to close the notorious channel. And Senior Research Fellow Mark Davis, Director of Tulane Law School’s Institute on Water Resources Law & Policy, plays a role in pointing out the moral responsibility that comes with making policy decisions affecting the environment along with business and civic interests. WYES-TV/Channel 12 is set to begin airing the documentary Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. 


Institute Names New Program Manager

We are happy to announce that effective September 1, Christopher Dalbom will become the new Program Manager at the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy.  Chris is no stranger to the Institute or the Law School having received his JD here in 2012 and served a one year post graduate fellowship with the Institute over the past year. 

Chris’s responsibilities will range from assisting with the Institute’s ongoing survey of state and federal water laws in the Mississippi River corridor to deepening our cross campus, interuniversity, and community working relationships.  Central to that work will be Chris’s role in helping to better link water law, policy, and science through joint programming with the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research (whose support for this position we gratefully acknowledge).

Partial funding for this position was made possible from The McKnight Foundation.

We look forward to continuing to serve the water resources community.


Institute Partners on Urban Water Plan for New Orleans

The Urban Water Plan was administered by NGO, Inc. and led by architectural firm Waggoner and Ball.  The Plan addresses groundwater and stormwater as critical factors in shaping a safe, livable, and beautiful city. Institute Director Mark Davis and Institute student researchers Henry Vorhoff and Frederic Augonnet participated in Plan development for several months in 2012-13. 


Institute Director Mark Davis Named to Louisiana Water Resources Commission

In June, Institute Director Mark Davis was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to the Water Resources Commission.  Mark will have to be confirmed by the Senate in the Fall.


TULANE WATER LAW INSTITUTE RELEASES RESTORE ACT WHITE PAPER:  “Promise, Purpose, and Challenge:  Putting the RESTORE Act into Context for the Communities and Ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico”


The Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy has released a White Paper looking at how the RESTORE Act will work and its implications on the ecosystems and communities of the Gulf.  The paper, “Promise, Purpose, and Challenge:  Putting the RESTORE Act into Context for the Communities and Ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico”, is aimed at improving the public’s understanding about the Act and how it will work.

 The RESTORE Act was enacted by Congress in 2012 and redirects ta portion of the Clean Water Act administrative and civil penalties flowing from the Deep Water Horizon disaster to the Gulf Coast for ecologic restoration, economic sustainability, and the encouragement of Gulf oriented science.  

 According to Institute Director Mark Davis, “The RESTORE Act is an unprecedented redirection of Clean Water Act penalties and like most unprecedented things comes with limitations, questions, and new responsibilities. The Act can help make many good things happen but there are many needs it won’t touch.  It will take concerted effort and meaningful public engagement to deliver on the promise of this Act.  While no one wants future spills, history teaches that we will have them.  Whether future Clean Water Act dollars will go to improving the areas impacted by those spills will turn largely on whether the RESTORE Act is an experiment the country thinks was a success.” 


Recent Publications and Presentations  

  • TUWaterWays: 
  • April 22, 2014
  • April 15, 2014 
  • April 8, 2014 
  • April 1, 2014 

    Promise, Purpose, and Challenge:  Putting the RESTORE Act into Context for the Communities and Ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico, a white paper by the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law & Policy. April 8, 2013.   


    Upcoming Events  

    Earth Day Festival & Green Business Expo
    Armstrong Park
    New Orleans, LA

    April 22, 2014
    Living Green in New Orleans: Earth Day 2014
    Botanical Garden, City Park
    New Orleans, LA

    May, 2014
    Horizon Initiative Water Committee Meeting
    Garden Study Center, City Park
    New Orleans, LA



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