Harrison Dunning

Harrison C. Dunning

Position Title
Professor of Law Emeritus

2121 King Hall

Harrison "Hap" Dunning is a leading expert on natural resources law and water law. He is author of the public rights portion of the leading national treatise on water law, "Waters and Water Rights," and he has written numerous articles on water law, particularly with regard to the public trust doctrine. He is a member of the board of directors of the Water Education Foundation and the Bay Institute of San Francisco.

"Environmental law will never solve the problem that spawned it, but it can aspire to the second best of all possible worlds," said Harrison "Hap" Dunning. The problem Dunning speaks of was articulated by Paul Erlich in 1968 in a book titled The Population Bomb.

"Instead of controlling population, the emphasis went to ancillary problems like pollution, impacts of development, the use of water and land resources," said Dunning, a teacher of environmental law since 1969. "It's discouraging we never faced the problem head on. There is still no really effective control of population growth."

Natural resources law is broader than environmental law in that it deals with everyone in the natural resources chain, not just those directly responsible for pollution, Dunning explained. "There needs to be an understanding of the legal regimes that supply the oil, gas, gold, timber, water and so on. There also needs to be an understanding of the regimes that control resources without much commercial value, such as natural habitats and wildlife."

Education and Degree(s)
  • B.A. Government, Dartmouth College, 1960
  • LL.B. Harvard University, 1964
Research Interests & Expertise
  • Environmental Law
  • Natural Resources
  • Water Law


California Instream Flow Protection Law: Then and Now, 36 McGeorge L. Rev. 363 (2005).

The Governor's Commission: Success or Failure?, 36 McGeorge L. Rev. 17 (2005).

California Water: Will There Be Enough?, 25 Environs Envtl. L. & Pol'y J. 59 (2002).

Revolution (and Counter-Revolution) in Western Water Law: Reclaiming the Public Character of Water Resources, VIII Fordham Envtl. L. J. 439 (1997).

Renouncing the Public Trust Doctrine: An Assessment of the Validity of Idaho House Bill 794, 24 Ecology L. Q. 461 (1997) (with Michael C. Blumm and Scott W. Reed).

Sovereignty and Water Resources, 105 Water Resources Update 43 (1996).

Beyond the Aqueduct Empire, 26 Cal. J. 19 (1995).

The End of the Mono Lake Basin Water War: Ecosystem Management, Fish and Fairness to a Water Supplier, 5 Cal. Water L. & Pol'y Rep. 27 (1994).

Confronting the Environmental Legacy of Irrigated Agriculture in the West: The Case of the Central Valley Project, 23 Envtl. L. 943 (1993).

Dam Fights and Water Policy in California: 1969-1989, 29 J. of the West 14 (1990).

Article X, Section 2: From Maximum Water Development to Instream Flow Protection, 17 Hastings Const. L. Q. 275 (1989).

The Public Trust: A Fundamental Doctrine of American Property Law, 19 Envtl. L. 515 (1989).

State Equitable Apportionment of Western Water Resources, 66 Neb. L. Rev. 76 (1987).

The "Physical Solution" in Western Water Law, 57 U. Colo. L. Rev. 445 (1986).

The Public Trust Doctrine and Western Water Law: Discord or Harmony?, 0 Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Inst. 17 (1985).

The Summa Decision: A Setback for State Sovereignty, W. Nat. Resource Litig. Dig., Commentary 13 (Fall 1984 issue).

The Mono Lake Decision: Protecting a Common Heritage Resource from Death by Diversion, 13 Envtl. L. Rep. 10144 (1983).

A New Front in the Water Wars: Introducing the "Public Trust" Factor, 14 Cal. J. 189 (1983).

Toward a State Water Policy, 15 Cry Cal. 14 (1980). Reprinted as "Toward a California Water Policy" in Hart, J. (ed.), The New Book of California Tomorrow: Reflections and Projections from the Golden State, 315 (J. Hart ed., 1984).

The Significance of California's Public Trust Easement for California's Water Rights Law, 14 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 357 (1980).

Governor's Commission to Review California Water Rights Law, (California Water Resources Center)No. 41: 27 (1977).

Reflections on the Transfer of Water Rights, 4 J. of Contemp. L. 109 (1977).

Rural Land Reform in Socialist Ethiopia: The First Year. 10 Verfassung und Recht in Übersee 203; Also published as: Réforme agraire en Ethiopie socialiste: bilan de la première année. Revue Juridique et Politique, Indépendance et Coopération 31: 123 (1977).

Ethiopia: Post-Revolution Law Reform, 13 Afr. L. Stud. 188 (1976).

Pests, Poisons and the Living Law: The Control of Pesticides in California's Imperial Valley, 2 Ecology L.Q. 633; reprinted in Envtl. L. Rev. 1974: 345 (1972).

Land Reform in Ethiopia: A Case Study in Non-Development, 18 UCLA L. Rev. 271 (1970); reprinted by University of Wisconsin Land Tenure Center as LTC Reprint No. 97.

Notes for an Environmental Law Course, 55 Cornell L. Rev. 804 (1970).

Public-Private Conflicts over Sub-Surface Stone in Ethiopia, 5 J. Ethiopian L. 449 (1968)

Expropriation by the Imperial Highway Authority, 5 J. Ethiopian L. 217 (1968).

Law and Economic Development in Africa: The Law of Eminent Domain, 68 Colum. L. Rev. 1286 (1968).

The Public Right to Use Water in Place, in Waters and Water Rights, (Michie Company 2004 replacement volume). Plus annual supplements.

California, in Waters and Water Rights, (Michie Company 2005 replacement volume). Plus annual supplements.

Instream Flows and the Public Trust, Chapter 6 in Instream Flow Protection in the West (MacDonnell & Rice, eds.) (revised edition) (1993).

Book Review: A review of M. Catherine Miller, Flooding the Courtrooms: Law and Water in the Far West (1993), 68 Agricultural History 81-82 (1994).

Long's Peak and Beyond, 4 Rivers, 153-155 (1993). A review of America's Waters: A New Era of Sustainability (Report of the Long's Peak Working Group on National Water Policy).

Legal Aspects of the Kesterson Problem, In Bay Institute of San Francisco et al., Selenium and Agricultural Drainage: Implications for San Francisco Bay and the California Environment 118-129 (1986).

Water Allocation in California: Legal Rights and Reform Needs, UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies Research Paper. Pages 1-62 (1982).

Political Dynamics and Decision Making, with E.C. Lee in Competition for California Water, Alternative Resolutions, edited by E.a. Engelbert and A.F. Scheuring, University of California Press. Pages 183-198 (1982).

California Water Rights Law, Continuing Education of the Bar. Pages 1-51 (1979).

State of California, The California Water Atlas, Author of portions of Chapter 11, Unresolved Questions for the Future: 101-111. Also published in revised form as: Questions in California's Water Future, Cry California 14: 2-15 (1979)

An Investigative Study of the California Experience in Airport Noise Regulation, (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). Pages 1-112 (1975).

Legal Systems and Legal Services in Africa, Chapter Two in Committee on Legal Services to the Poor in the Developing Countries, Legal Aid and World Poverty: A Survey of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Praeger. Pages 1-52 (1974).

Laws and Regulations Governing Agricultural Pesticide Use in the San Joaquin Valley, Chapter 8 in The Effects of Agricultural Pesticides in the Aquatic Environment, Irrigated Croplands, San Joaquin Valley, edited by M. Li and R. Fleck (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water Programs, Pesticide Study Series 6). Pages 210-268 (1972).