… In this chapter, I consider the reform of property rights regarding water, otherwise known as private water rights, in the context of sustainability. Reflecting the global trend, there are mounting, urgent, multi-dimensional challenges facing water which threaten this vital resource. In the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Living Planet Report 2018 it was stated: ‘Freshwater habitats, such as lakes, rivers and wetlands, are the source of life for all humans yet they are also the most threatened, strongly affected by a range of factors including habitat modification, fragmentation and destruction; invasive species; overfishing; pollution; disease and climate change’. Water has also been noted as being at the core of sustainable development. I will explore the interactions between three different policy spheres which relate to the reform of private water rights – each representing a pillar of sustainable development – in the particular context of small-scale hydro-schemes in Scotland. I argue that this micro-analysis has macro-implications, and that this case study shows that we must move beyond multiple boundaries in reforming our property laws in order to contribute to the transition to sustainability.
Robbie, Jill, Moving Beyond Boundaries in the Pursuit of Sustainable Property Law (June 11, 2019), forthcoming in Bram Akkermans and Gijs van Dijck (eds), Private Law and Sustainability (2019).