Utton Center Publications

Model Interstate Water Compact

Model Interstate Water Compact Book Cover

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Bitter struggles over shared water resources and legal actions between  states prompted the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the United States Senate in 2000 to designate The Utton Transboundary Resources Center to convene over 30 water experts and lawyers from across the nation and sponsor a conference to address these complex water issues.

Their experience and insights culminated in The Model Interstate Water Compact by Jerome Muys, George Sherk, and Marilyn O’Leary—an innovative model for resolution of interstate water disputes in an equitable and efficient manner.

Provisions include articles on establishment and structure of the commission, water apportionment, water quality protection and water resources management programs, dispute resolution, interagency coordination, and budgeting and funding. Commentaries follow each article to explain the rationale for the provisions. The conclusions encourage states to assume oversight of transboundary resources, especially water, avoiding the inefficiency and expense of legal action. In addition to the proposed model compact, there is a complete cross-referenced listing of existing interstate water compacts in the appendix.

AL UTTON—Aztec Eagle: International Waters, Research, Diplomacy, and Friendship Book Cover

AL UTTON—Aztec Eagle: International Waters, Research, Diplomacy, and Friendship

Purchase Book or email Utton Center to recieve a copy. Proceeds from the sale will also benefit the Utton Center.

About the Book

Michele Minnis’s biography of Utton describes the experiences and decisions that powered his efforts and successes in informing decision making and conflict resolution over transboundary resources that cross the frontiers of nations, states, and regions. Utton was co-founder of The International Transboundary Resources Center (CIRT) and the Natural Resources Center (NRC) at the University of New Mexico School of Law. He was editor of the Natural Resources Journal for 36 years. He also served in many civic capacities in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico. A native of Aztec, New Mexico, Al Utton received his undergraduate degree in geology from UNM. As a Rhodes Scholar, he received a law degree from Oxford University. Utton returned to New Mexico and became a faculty member at the School of Law in 1962. At the UNM he focused his talents and energies on natural resources law and policy and created a new area of academic endeavor—international border studies.

The following excerpt from the biography describing one of the projects Utton worked on with colleagues in Mexico, captures the ethos that informed Professor Utton’s work and collaborations:

“All too often we wait until issues are upon us in a confrontational atmosphere before we seek to develop responsive policy. Under those circumstances, the research and analysis on which policy should be based not only does not exist, but there is not time available in which to develop it. Here we are trying to anticipate transboundary resource problems before they are upon us—which will not be too long.”

[Excerpt from Al Utton—Aztec Eagle, by permission of the author]

Today, the Utton Center continues the legacy of Professor Utton through its research and efforts to inform and address transboundary water and natural resource issues.

About the Author

AL UTTON—Aztec Eagle: International Waters, Research, Diplomacy, and Friendship Book Cover

Author Michele Minnis, PhD, was one of the founders of the University of New Mexico Water Resources Program (est. 1991). Minnis taught in the program for fifteen years and served twice as its acting director. For most of that time she was also Associate Director of the Natural Resources Center, created by Al Utton as an education, research, and public service arm of the Natural Resources Journal. In the early 1980s, Minnis designed and directed a legal writing program for first-year UNM law students. Now retired, she lives in Corrales.


Watch the video below about the biography of Al Utton featuring author Michele Minnis, Mary Utton (Utton’s Wife), Professor Lee Brown (a long time colleague), and Adrian Oglesby (Director of the Utton Center).


Read Professor Charles "Chuck" DuMars review of "Al Utton—Aztec Eagle" in the August 31 edition of the New Mexico "Bar Bulletin" (reprinted with the permission from the author and the State Bar of New Mexico).

For more information, contact Laura Burns at burns@law.unm.edu or 505-277-3253.