Water Wars in the United States Supreme Court: Why Should Agriculture Care?

Sponsored by the Agricultural and Food Law Consortium



The United States Supreme Court has more interstate water wars on its docket than any time in the history of the Court. The Court recently decided Wyoming v. Montana. Still pending are water wars between New Mexico and Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee, and Florida and Georgia. The potential impact of the Court’s decisions in these cases on agriculture is clear in some of these cases, subtle in others.

This webinar introduces equitable apportionment, the standard by which the Court resolves interstate water wars, and reviews the process the court uses to decide these cases. The presenters then briefly summarize each case and then examines the impact on agriculture of each case individually and of the four cases together.

The increasing number of interstate water wars finding their way to the Court’s docket is a trend likely to continue. In addition, agricultural water use lies at the center of many of these controversies. Given that agricultural uses generally form the largest use of water in each state, interstate water wars hold the potential to profoundly impact agriculture and agribusiness over the next several decades.


This webinar was recorded on May 2, 2018.  To listen to a recording of the webinar, please click here.


Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Esq., J.D.
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Agricultural Law
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Tiffany Dowell Lashmet is an Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist in Agricultural Law with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Lashmet focuses her work on legal issues impacting farmers and ranchers, including water law, oil and gas law, eminent domain, right to farm litigation, leasing, farm protection statutes, and landowner liability. Prior to joining Texas A&M in 2013, Lashmet was in private practice at a civil litigation firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Lashmet grew up on her family’s farm and ranch in northeastern New Mexico. She attended Oklahoma State University, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness Farm and Ranch Management. She then attended the University of New Mexico School of Law where she graduated summa cum laude and first in her class with her Juris Doctorate. She is licensed to practice in New Mexico and Texas.

Jesse J. Richardson, Jr.
West Virginia University College of Law

is a Professor of Law and the Lead Land Use Attorney at the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law. Before coming to WVU, Richardson was an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech. His research and experience focuses on land use law and water law. Jesse began his legal career in private practice in his home town of Winchester, Virginia, first with a large law firm, then as a solo practitioner.

He is the Past President of the American Agricultural Law Association and was honored with the 1999 Professional Scholarship Award from the American Agricultural Law Association, the 2004 William E. Wine Award for a history of teaching Excellence from Virginia Tech (the highest teaching award granted by the university), and the 2009 University Certificate of Excellence in Outreach. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Research & Materials:


Florida v. Georgia

Oral Argument Transcript

Special Master Report

Wyoming v. Montana and North Dakota

Special Master’s Page

Special Master’s Second Interim Report

Special Master’s Final Report

Mississippi v. Tennessee

Original Action (Motion, Complaint, Brief)

Decision on Motions (August 12, 2016)

Texas v. New Mexico & Colorado


Special Master Page

First Interim Special Master Report

SCOTUS oral argument transcript

SCOTUS Decision