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Loyola University Chicago


"Domestic and International Regulation of Freshwater Resources"

Concern for the long-term sustainability of water resources development and use in the face of mounting pressure from a host of factors - not least, climate change - on a finite resource base has gained a most prominent place on the agenda of the world community. Concepts like water security and water governance have gained much currency in international parlance, however what tends to be overlooked is that the policy goals and directions which eventually substantiate those pretty loose concepts, especially in the domestic context of individual countries, need resting on a supportive bedrock of domestic water laws and institutions. Moreover, water security and water governance often engage water resources which do not "belong" to one country only, but are common to two or more countries as a result of boundary lines traversing rivers, lakes, or underground aquifers. The management of these resources is the combined province of international water law and of the domestic water legislation of the countries having those freshwater bodies in common. Good domestic water resources laws, and bi- and multi-lateral agreements resting on international water law principles and standards, are therefore the building blocks of domestic water security and water governance policies and goals. Drawing from comparative analysis and personal experience, the module will first illustrate the makeup of domestic water laws. Next, the critical issues confronting contemporary water laws, and the approaches taken to address them, will be highlighted, and the emerging problematique discussed. Finally, international water law principles and standards will also be illustrated, by reference to the very few global instruments available, and to the practice of states. By the end of the module, participants should have a grasp of the building blocks of domestic and of international water law, and should be able to bring them to bear on the water security and water governance discourse back home.

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