Research Handbook on International Water Law
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Research Handbook on International Water Law

Edited by Stephen C. McCaffrey, Christina Leb and Riley T. Denoon

The Research Handbook on International Water Law surveys the field of the law of shared freshwater resources. In some thirty chapters, it covers subjects ranging from the general principles operative in the field and international groundwater law to the human right to water and whether international water law is prepared to cope with climate disruption. The authors are internationally recognized experts in the field, most with years of experience. The Research Handbook is edited by three scholars and practitioners whose publications and work deal with the law of international watercourses.
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Chapter 4: Inter-jurisdictional water allocation in federal systems: lessons for international water law

Rhett Larson and A. Dan Tarlock


Many countries with federal systems have decades or centuries of experience managing water that traverses sub-national jurisdictional boundaries. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India and the United States of America have developed transboundary water laws to address or avoid inter-jurisdictional water disputes between subsidiary states or provinces. Practitioners and scholars of international water law can draw lessons from these countries’ experience in managing transboundary waters. These countries have demonstrated success in managing transboundary waters which could be adapted to the international context, and each country has made mistakes in transboundary water governance which serve as cautionary tales for international water law. This chapter discusses the successes and failures of domestic federal systems in managing transboundary waters and suggests reforms for international water law based on those domestic lessons.

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