The Challenge of Sustainability
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
The cover of the edition of Scientific American of August 2008 indicated that it included an article entitled ‘Running out of Water: a six-point plan to avert a global crisis’. It noted that ‘the technologies and policy tools required to conserve existing freshwater and to secure more of it are known’. These needed to be implemented. Accordingly, ‘governments and authorities at every level have to formulate and execute concrete plans for implementing the political, economic and technological measures that can ensure water security now and in the coming decades’. Each of these measures – it is assumed – will be implemented within an existing legal framework or within a legal framework that needs to be established to enable these measures to be implemented. It is the purpose of the following chapters to review the fundamental doctrines of the legal system which underpin and support the management of water resources at all levels including international, regional and national. The effectiveness of the legal instruments that create or reflect fundamental legal doctrine depends ultimately upon how they are structured and upon the language used to create that structure. The focus of the following chapters is thus upon the text of these instruments, but the text of these instruments in the wider context in which they have effect. So the linguistic detail of the provision in the instrument is just as important as – if not more important than – the context in which it has effect. But both are critical in reviewing the legal arrangements for...