International Approaches to Policy and Decision-making
Edited by Jayne M. Godfrey and Keryn Chalmers
Chapter 13: The Role of Water Accounting System in the Avoidance and Resolution of International Water Disputes
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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