International Law for a Water-Scarce World


The fresh water crisis is the new environmental crisis of the 21st century. By 2050, 993 million people are projected to live in cities with perennial water shortages; 3.1 billion will confront seasonal water shortages within their urban areas. The traditional legal principles upon which existing water management is based are likely to be insufficient to deal with the water problems that loom from projected climate change, population growth, food production, increased industrialization, and ecosystem needs.

This volume, a fully revised and expanded version of the lectures given by the author at the Hague Academy of International Law in 2007, focuses on the evolution of international water law in the context of this changing world. Chapter I covers the basic principles of international water law. Chapter II offers a critique of international water law and challenges for the future. Chapter III analyses the evolution of international water agreements over the past two centuries. The analysis draws upon empirical data from more than 2,000 international agreements in a database developed by the author. Chapter IV focuses on the different techniques for resolving disputes and the international fora for doing so. Chapter V considers international institutions associated with international water agreements. Chapter VI addresses the issue of a human right to water and the right of indigenous peoples to water. Chapter VII analyses the implications of international water markets for international trade law, and vice versa, and addresses increasingly important issues associated with virtual water.

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Edith Brown Weiss is the Francis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law at Georgetown Law and former President of the American Society of International Law. She has been involved in water resources for several decades, taught water law at Princeton University, and served on the US National Research Council’s Water Science and Technology Board and the NRC Committee on Sustainable Water Supplies in the Middle East. She is the recipient of many international awards, including the Manley O. Hudson Medal from the ASIL, the Elizabeth Haub Medal from the IUCN and the Free University of Brussels, and an honorary doctorate from Heidelberg University in Germany. She is the author of In Fairness to Future Generations, among other books.
"Written in a language sufficiently technical, yet accessible, the book will be of interest to the researchers and professionals specializing in international law, as well as those in other fields. The book may be of particular interest to those interested in governance and policy analysis and development, in both public and non-governmental sectors, as well as academia...Meticulously researched, this book is a mature work from a forward looking, visionary thinker with a keen awareness of actuality. Professor Brown Weiss undertook a complex task and completed it well."
Zhannah Voukitchevitch, University of Ottawa.
List of Figures and Tables; List of Acronyms and Abbreviations; Acknowledgments; Introduction: The Fresh Water Crisis:
I. The Problem of Fresh Water Availability; II. The Problem of Water Quality; III. Implications for Water Law
Chapter I Principles of International Water Law
I. International Water Law Principles; II. Obligations in International Water Law; III. The Treatment of Ground Water; IV. Concluding Comments
Chapter II Challenges For International Water Law
I. Critique of Existing Water Law; II. Fresh Water as a Global Resource; III. Concluding Comments
Chapter III International Water Agreements
I. The History of International Water Agreements; II. The Overarching Agreements; III. Concluding Comments;
Chapter IV Settlement of International Water Disputes
I. Trends in the Characteristics of International Water Disputes; II. Dispute Settlement Procedures; III. Provisions for Dispute Settlement in International Water Agreements; IV. Concluding Comments
Chapter V Fresh Water Institutions
I. History and evolution; II. Scope and coverage; III. Structure and function; IV. Effectiveness; V. Concluding Observations
Chapter VI Right to Water
I. The Intragenerational Right to Water; II. The Intergenerational Aspects of the Right to Water; III. Legal Bases for A Right to Water; IV. Implementing a Right to Water; V. The Right to Water in National Constitutions and Local Instruments; VI. Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Water; VII. The Accompanying Right to Sanitation; VIII. Concluding Comments
Chapter VII Water Markets and International Trade Law
I. Transboundary Water Movements; II. The Relevance of WTO GATT 1994 to Water Markets; III. Should WTO GATT 1994 Apply to Bulk Water Transfers?; IV. Options for Clarifying Whether WTO GATT 1994 Applies; V. Water subsidies and water-related domestic support; VI. Virtual Water Transfers; VII. Concluding Comments
List of Cases and Arbitrations; Bibliography; Index.
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