Water Resource Management and the Law
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Water Resource Management and the Law

Edited by Erkki J. Hollo

Scarcity of water, floods and erosion caused by climate change have made the management of water resources a challenge to national and international actors worldwide. States have also initiated water projects to improve social welfare, often with significant impacts on the environment. This book combines close analysis of the legal structures of water rights with consideration of the modes of water management projects to illustrate current water-related problems in terms of practical solutions in a global context.
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Chapter 9: Tensions and relationships in international water law

Tuomas Kuokkanen


The chapter discusses how international law has sought to resolve, regulate and manage problems and relationships relating to the protection and utilization of waters. The chapter distinguishes four dimensions: subjective, spatial, temporal and material. Issues relating to watercourses should not be dealt with in a vacuum but are surrounded by a web of tensions, conflicts and relationships. The use of different dimensions helps to determine where the essence lies, what possible trade-offs and benefits are available, what kind of conflicts of interest exist and whether any synergies or interlinkages can be identified. The chapter then explores different tools and methods provided by international law. In this regard, three broad themes are discussed: dispute settlement, regulations and management. These approaches reflect three contextually different but interlinked ways of dealing with such issues. However, while such tools exist at a general level, their functionality depends on the specific circumstances at hand. Keywords: Chapter 9 (Kuokkanen): International water law, transboundary watercourses, dispute settlement, Harmon doctrine, case law, sustainable development

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