Edited by Stephen C. McCaffrey, Christina Leb and Riley T. Denoon
Chapter 11: International water law and climate disruption
Climate change will stress both the consumptive and non-consumptive uses of transboundary watercourses. Existing hydrological models may be unreliable and expected supplies may diminish over time at the same time that extreme flood events become more frequent. Riparian countries must adopt more flexible management regimes to adapt to these stresses. International water law is not well suited to do so because it focuses on the creation of secure, long-term entitlements rather than on mechanisms to adjust entitlements to changed conditions and gives comparatively little weight to the conservation of aquatic ecosystems. International water law can promote adaptation by recognizing that the fundamental norm of reasonable and equitable use can incorporate adjustment to climate change. In addition, the evolving norm that riparian nations have an affirmative duty to cooperate in the management of transboundary watercourses can promote the incorporation of climate science and adaptive management into the use of these freshwater resources.
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