Water Accounting
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Water Accounting

International Approaches to Policy and Decision-making

Edited by Jayne M. Godfrey and Keryn Chalmers

One of the most pressing global issues of the 21st century is the scarcity of water of a quantity appropriate to ensure economic, environmental and social sustainability. In addressing the issue through policy and management, of critical importance is access to high quality information. But water scarcity has many implications, and it is possible that different reporting approaches, generally called water accounting systems, can be appropriate to addressing them. In this groundbreaking book, international experts respond to the question: what role can water accounting play in resolving individual, organizational, industry, national and international economic, social and environmental issues? They explore how various forms of water accounting are utilized and the issues that they address.
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Chapter 13: The Role of Water Accounting System in the Avoidance and Resolution of International Water Disputes

Andrew Allan


13. The role of a water accounting system in the avoidance and resolution of international water disputes Andrew Allan INTRODUCTION During the early years of the twenty-first century, various global initiatives have been progressing in parallel with the development of water accounting systems to propagate uniformity of standards, nomenclature and data collection methodologies related to water information. The concerns that have prompted such progress, for example a desire to facilitate and streamline integrated planning and management and the need for improved communication and transparency, have for many years also been addressed in the agreements that States1 have negotiated in order to manage transboundary watercourses, with varying degrees of success. Such agreements function to some extent as dispute management tools,2 partly through these efforts at harmonization, and also because they set out the rights and obligations of the parties to them and thus help to define the boundaries of acceptable State practice. They may also contain details of the procedures to be followed in the event that differences arise between the parties, and potentially the mechanisms that will govern situations where a dispute cannot be avoided. The aim of this chapter is to assess the specific role that a water accounting system, such as General Purpose Water Accounting (Water Accounting Standards Board 2010), may play in inter-State dispute avoidance. In doing so, the chapter identifies those principles of General Purpose Water Accounting that are shared with existing treaty3 practice and the broader principles of the law on international watercourses. It...

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