The Law and Governance of Water Resources
Show Less

The Law and Governance of Water Resources

The Challenge of Sustainability

Douglas Fisher

This path-breaking book focuses on the law and legal doctrine within the wider policy context of water resources and analyses the concept of sustainability.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 5: The Range of Functions Performed by States

Douglas Fisher


RIGHTS OF SOVEREIGNTY (a) Introduction Sovereignty – like property – is an equivocal concept, but the nature of the rights associated with it are fundamental to the way water resources are governed, not only nationally but also internationally. On the face of it sovereignty describes the range of exclusive rights available to a nation state within its territorial boundaries. It is generally accepted that this approach emerged – principally in Europe – about the middle of the 17th century. In this way the territory of a state, and hence the natural resources under its control, were delineated by artificial boundaries, and this has clearly had significant impacts upon the way water as a commonpool resource has been governed. Rivers, for example, may flow through the territories of several nation states and underground aquifers may similarly underlie the territorial surface of several nation states. The right to control natural resources has been a critical factor in the rise and subsequent demise of political and economic colonialism. Indeed in 1974 the General Assembly of the United Nations confirmed the importance of sovereignty by resolving that ‘every State has and shall freely exercise full permanent sovereignty, including possession, use and disposal, over all its wealth, natural resources and economic activities’. While this response may have been inspired by the emerging tensions between developed, undeveloped and developing nation states, it was tempered by international arrangements for the protection of the environment and subsequently by the emergence of sustainable development. These two doctrinal elements of international law – environmental protection...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.