Water History

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 97–99 | Cite as

David Schorr: The Colorado doctrine—water rights, corporations, and distributive justice on the American frontier. Yale library series in legal history and reference, 2012

  • Bonnie G. ColbyEmail author

David Schorr, chair of the Law and Environment Program at Tel Aviv University, tackles the long-standing association of the prior appropriation doctrine (a central tenet of western US water law, Hobbs 2002) with privatization of water, dismissal of public interest in water and facilitation of markets to improve economic efficiency. Schorr draws upon his meticulous research into documents from the early Colorado mining camps and nascent territorial and state water law. Rebutting a widespread view that the prior appropriation doctrine sprang full-fledged from the mining camps, Schorr identifies a network of key antecedents in property law. He convincingly articulates his central thesis—the prior appropriations doctrine was developed in favor of distributive justice and widespread access to water, intentionally circumscribing private property and limiting water corporations’ ability to take advantage of farmers.

The prior appropriation doctrine’s emphasis on preventing control over water...


Distributive Justice Water Corporation High Transaction Cost Property Interest Mining Camp 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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