The Role of International Water Law and Supporting Universally Applicable Water Management Principles in the Development of a Model Transboundary Agreement Between Riparians in International River Basins
Gander, Malcolm Johns
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International water law, an outgrowth of international law, is a conglomeration of tenets from international conventions and treaties that recognize rules codified by contesting states, customary law, judicial decisions, and writings of qualified legal practitioners. A set of water management principles (WMPs) are presented, which form the basis for the development of a model transboundary agreement (TBA), or template treaty, for international river basins. The relevant tenets of international water law, which support the selection of the WMPs, are identified and analyzed. This study is undertaken because the world community has not yet agreed upon a universally applicable treaty to manage the uses and protection of shared water resources. The set of WMPs are largely adopted from The International Law Association's 1966 Helsinki Rules, the United Nation 1997 Convention on Non-navigable Watercourses, and existing TBAs. These include the concept of equitable and reasonable utilization as the guiding principle of international watercourse management. A few existing concepts refined by the author are presented (e.g., the establishment of emergency contingency plans; the mapping and monitoring of all water wells within a basin), as are relatively recent concepts that have not typically been incorporated into most existing TBAs (e.g., acceptance of aquifers [groundwater] as a resource often situated primarily below basins, and the need to conjunctively manage this resource along with surface water). Chapter One addresses WMPs, Chapter Two presents the template treaty, Chapter Three presents a proposed TBA for the Pilcomayo River Basin (PRB) of Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay ("proposed PRB treaty"), and Chapter Four discusses plans for promoting the template treaty and the proposed PRB treaty.