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 20: Creating basin mechanisms in Southern Africa

Richard K. Paisley and Maaria Curlier


The objective of this chapter is to review the application of international water law in a Southern Africa context. The Southern Africa region is characterized by great diversity – in economic standards, population, size and water use. There are 11 major shared drainage basins, six of those are discussed in this chapter with respect to international water law: the Okavango, the Orange/Senqu, the Incomati, the Maputo, the Limpopo, and the Zambezi. The SADC Protocol in particular reflects the key principles of international water law captured in the Helsinki Rules, the 1992 UNECE Convention and the 1997 UN Watercourse Convention. The key principles of international water law reflected in the various agreements developed and applied in Southern Africa include: equitable and reasonable utilization, no significant harm, notification and consultation and the emerging principle of equitable participation.

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