In the past century and a half, States have developed transnational water management. Recognizing from this practice that there is a body of customary law for internationally shared waters, international legal expects, individually or collectively (through expert bodies), led the development of international water law, providing much of the soft law applied by States. Over the past century and a-half, responding to increasing and intensifying disputes over internationally shared waters, the International Law Association (“ILA”), and similar bodies have contributed significantly to the growth of international law for internationally shared waters and later for waters more generally. The ILA’s Helsinki Rules (1966) quickly became the key codification of customary international law until the completion of the UN Watercourses Convention (1997). The ILA’s Berlin Rules on Water Resources (2004) is the most recent and most far-reaching such codification. With all this, the problems of transboundary aquifers have hardly begun to be faced.
Joseph W. Dellapenna and Flavia Rocha Loures
Joyeeta Gupta, Joseph W. Dellapenna and Marcel van den Heuvel
This chapter argues that water security has many meanings. It addresses the question: will framing water in terms of ‘water security’ be likely to do a disservice to the water governance challenge of the 21st century? Isn’t there a real risk that the term will become hostage to a much more sinister use of ‘water security’ and lead to precisely the opposite effect? It argues that in the context of limited freshwater resources, its link not only to survival (existential aspects) but to economic growth runs the risk that more innocent uses of security at global and local levels play into the hands of the securitization process in which states control how water is divided between actors. Borrowing a discourse which was initially used for primarily existential reasons at state level may thus be risky. So while the use of security aims at enhancing the priority given to a subject by making it a high politics issue, this runs the risk of also encouraging the use of hard power to deal with it.