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American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL)

Sorcery, Magic, and a Bit of Alchemy? Creating Water

American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL)

The medieval forerunner of chemistry is said to have been alchemy and was primarily focused on transforming base metals and other matter into gold (or a universal liquid to make one immortal). If you look at a definition of the term, you will also see words like magic, sorcery, enchantment, and witchcraft. A few decades ago, the concept of atmospheric water management, geo-engineering, or weather modification might well have been characterized as a form of sheer alchemy, magic, or sorcery. Now however, with climate variations becoming the most predictable weather forecast, many are looking for solutions to control the weather even if by magic. Drought conditions continue to exist in much of the United States, which have heightened an interest in the science of weather modification as a tool for water management and drought resolution.

Weather modification can be planned or inadvertent. Cloud seeding (atmospheric water management) an example of planned modification, airborne sediment (contaminated or otherwise) an example of inadvertent. Atmospheric water management has increased in interest. as have the legal issues associated the quest to produce water. For example, who has a right to claim the wet gold resulting from atmospheric water management? Who is responsible for any collateral consequences? Is this an element of state water law or something new and different?

To read the ACOEL blog post, click here.

This article was originally published online by American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) on March 9, 2023.

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