Edited by Stephen C. McCaffrey, Christina Leb and Riley T. Denoon
Chapter 9: The application of the general principles and key obligations to internationally shared groundwater
Most international shared aquifers lack agreements, policies and institutional arrangement necessary to effectively and efficiently manage groundwater. A current example is the U.S.-Mexico border region, which reflects the general trend of minimum regulation on transboundary groundwater in international law. The international instrument regulating the management of transboundary aquifers in conjunctive use with surface water is the 1997 Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, which reflects the principles of international water law. Regarding fossil aquifers, the International Law Commission (ILC) Resolution on confined transboundary groundwater 1994 recognized that confined aquifers, ‘groundwater not related to an international watercourse’, need specific rules. The 1992 ECE Water Convention could cover fossil aquifers, as long as they are intersected by a border. In 2008, the ILC adopted the Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers. It provides helpful guidance concerning the management of this precious resource.
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