Robert Adler

James I. Farr Presidential Chair and former Dean, College of Law

University of Utah

Robert Adler

Contact Information

Phone: (801) 581-6571

Research Interests & Background

As a scholar, Professor Adler urges a broader, more holistic approach to the restoration and protection of aquatic and other ecosystems than is used in traditional environmental laws alone, which focus on discrete kinds of environmental harm. He also explores the many ways in which environmental law and water law will have to respond to a rapidly changing climate. After completing a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, Professor Adler practiced environmental law for 15 years.

Selected Colorado River Publications & Presentations


Adler, Robert W.  2010.  Changing the law-science paradigm for Colorado River restoration, in Proceedings of the Colorado River Basin Science and Resource Management Symposium (edited by Melis, T.S., J.F. Hamill, L.G. Coggins Jr., P.E. Grams, T.A. Kennedy, D.M. Kubly, and B.E. Ralston, November 18–20, 2008, Scottsdale, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5135).

Adler, Robert W.  2008.  Revisiting the Colorado River Compact: Time for a Change?  Journal of Land Resources and Environmental Law 28:19.

Adler, Robert W.  2008.  An Ecosystem Perspective on Collaboration for the Colorado River.  Nevada Law Journal 8:1031.

Adler, Robert W.  2007.  Restoring Colorado River Ecosystems: A Troubled Sense of Immensity.  Washington: Island Press.

Adler, Robert W.  2007.  Restoring the Environment and Restoring Democracy: Lessons from the Colorado River.  Virginia Environmental Law Journal 25:55.


“Hawaii’s ‘Groundwater Conduit’ Interpretation:  A New Era for the CWA?”  University of Colorado.  Boulder, CO; June 7, 2018.

“Tying it all Together” (panelist) at the conference “Fighting Back on the Colorado River: Carving out Progress on Multiple Fronts.”  Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment, University of Colorado.  Boulder, CO; June 9, 2017.

“Adapting to Climate-Induced Water Scarcity” at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation’s Natural Resources Law Teachers Institute.  Alberta, Canada; June 2, 2017.

“Who Should be at the Table and What Should They Be Talking About?” University of Colorado Law School, Navigating the Future of the Colorado River Basin.  Boulder, CO; June 10, 2011.

“Colorado River Restoration in a Changing Climate.”  Moab River Rendezvous. Moab Utah; November 11, 2010.

“Arizona v. California: The Past, Present and Future of the Colorado River Compact.” University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, Snell & Wilmer, and the Constitutional Law Section of the Utah Bar. Salt Lake City, UT; October, 2007.

“An Ecosystem Perspective on Collaboration.” University of Nevada, Boyd School of Law and Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution, Collaboration and the Colorado River. Las Vegas, NV; October, 2007.