2014 Comparative Water Law

Membership: Moderated


Through this one-week international experience, U.S. law students will gain an introductory understanding of water resources law and policy by: exploring international, European, and Dutch water law; visiting relevant locations in The Netherlands and discussing how laws and policies are applied; and interacting with students from other nations. The relevance of history, data and technology will also be emphasized.



Garth Redfield, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, FL

Keith Rizzardi, Esq., Asst. Prof. of Law, St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami Gardens, FL


  1. Advance reading materials will be sent electronically to all participants by May 1, 2014.
  2. Students must write an essay, of six to eight pages, double spaced, in 12 point Times New Roman Font, on a document with one inch margins, with an anonymous grading number atop each page, and using endnotes (which do not count towards page limits) instead of footnotes to identify sources. With an emphasis on law and policy, the essay should explain (1) how the Dutch addressed problems created by upstream European nations through the Room for the River Project; (2) how the Dutch regulate local water management concerns through water districts; and (3) how the Dutch confront the risks presented by the North Sea. Comparisons to U.S. and Florida water laws are encouraged.
  3. Students will also attend a reception and poster session, designing a poster that count as 15 percent of the course grade. The poster will be displayed at the reception, where students can discuss their topic with each other, international students and United Nations faculty. The poster should consider how state or federal environmental law has been applied in a matter related to Florida’s water resources. Topics should be pre-approved: send the proposal to krizzardi@stu.edu The poster should be 2’ x 3’ or larger, readable from one yard away, and formatted as follows:


[name of water resources challenge or conflict]

Name of applicable water resources law

Identify a state or federal law relevant to a Florida water resource conflict, and describe the relevant portion of the law’s ideals and purposes

(100-150 words or so)


Water Resources Dispute

Describe, in 200 words or less, how the selected law created or affected a dispute between stakeholders or a problem involving competing water resource needs. 


Maps and images

Include maps showing (1) the contextual location of the dispute on a Florida map,    (2) a local scale map providing detailed context if necessary, and (3) other useful visual imagery.


NOTE: This poster will be pinned up to a cork board. It does not need to be on a project board, and can be folded if necessary for transport.



to Problem Solving

Describe one or more ways in which the stakeholders have tried to resolve the dispute (ex. a engineering projects, legislative efforts,  regulation or enforcement, litigation, violence etc.)

(100 words or so)


Name & description of:

  • governmental entity responsible for implementing law;
  • other gov’t entities;
  • primarily affected non-government stakeholders

Information Needs

Describe one or two critical information needs that, once met, could or actually did improve implementation of the law or resolve the dispute (100 words or so)


Monday May 19, 2014 (all at UNESCO-IHE)

Welcome Session for Florida law students

        4pm Florida law student orientation

  • Students who arrive early can bring their travel bags to the UN Institute, which is located two blocks from the train station, and then engage in local tourism.
  • During orientation, students will be given maps of Delft and the Netherlands, transportation information, keys to rooms and an updated agenda.

        5pm  Everglades poster session & reception

  • 25% of grades are based on the poster session, which can be any pre-approved topic related to the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, or the Kissimmee River.


8:30am The layers of law at UNESCO-IHE Jan Luijendijk

  • UN, UNESCO,  ICJ, EU, Netherlands & provinces, comparisons with U.S.

10-11am Train to The Hague, followed by lunch

1-4pm International Court of Justice, The Peace Palace

  • Chile v. Peru

Learning objective: Appreciation for role of international organizations in solving disputes between nations, the similarities and differences of governmental structure, and introduction to the entities governing water.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014: EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVES

8:45 am  EU, Netherlands & Rijkswaterstaat (Intro to European geography and water law) Frank Jaspers, UNESCO-IHE

10:30  Bus (comparative perspectives on Everglades, U.S. Clean Water Act)

11:30am-3:00 Room for the River at Biesbosch National Park (Lunch provided)

Learning objective: Accommodation of nature instead of resistance to address the international connectivity of watersheds; understanding the roles of engineering and land acquisition and finances

Thursday, May 22, 2014: NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES

8:45 am Netherlands Flood Control Law Lecture on water law by UNESCO expert (international law, EU)  Saki 

10:00  Bus Trip (Discussion of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Noon-4 Watersnoodmuseum  & Zeeland

Learning Objective: Understand historic flooding as basis for Dutch perspectives on ecosystems vs. humans; consider long-term tensions between flood control and climate change

Friday, May 23, 2014: LOCAL PERSPECTIVES

9:00 Lecture: Port of Rotterdam and Maasvlakte 2 Frank Jaspers

10:00-1pm Visit Kinderdijk (Discussion of the Florida water management districts)

1pm Lunch & learn at Buena Vista (Dutch water districts)

Learning objective: Insights on land reclamation in historic context; study of the importance of technology. 

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