Prize-winning article on Changing Conceptions of Rights to Water

Congratulations to Dr Bettina Lange at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies who has been awarded the Annual Richard Macrory Prize for the Best Article in the Journal of Environmental Law.

The article “Changing Conceptions of Rights to Water?—An Eco-Socio-Legal Perspective” investigates the meaning of a ‘right’ to water, focussing on water use for agricultural production.

The authors explore how the concept of private property rights to water relates to the idea of water stewardship, which obliges stakeholders to protect water resources for the benefit of the wider public.

The article highlights changes to environmental regulation in the UK in recent years where there has been a greater emphasis on water stewardship aimed at tackling the risks of water scarcity. For example, water abstractions have been further regulated through the Water Act 2003 and the draft Water Bill (now the Water Act 2014).

The authors conducted research on how farmers in England think about their right to access and use water and how this understanding is changing in light of developments in UK water regulation. They develop a eco-socio-legal perspective for understanding how conceptions of rights to water are generated.

The article is now available for free online here