This paper examines universal and regional approaches to resolving international disputes over shared freshwater resources, primarily through an analysis of selected case studies. It reviews the relevant multilateral and basin-wide legal regimes with a view to identifying regional trends. The exercise reveals that countries in different regions of the world have developed distinctive schemes to resolve their disputes over water. Generally, watercourse states in Africa and Europe appear to prefer to use negotiations and joint bodies as the means to settle conflicts but are willing also to accept third-party involvement, including arbitration and adjudication. On the other hand, in North America and, in particular, Asia, joint institutions and technical bodies play the most dominant role, with practically no recourse by states to compulsory third-party settlement.
The Power of Reclaimed Water
Power generation need not be another source of strain on diminishing freshwater resources. Well-established water reclamation technologies are enabling producers to conserve resources and money. Meeting the needs of a planetary population expected to surpass eight billion people by 2025 is requiring more output from fewer resources. In the case of dwindling supplies of freshwater, the strain on the natural resource from economic and population growth, and climate change, can be exacerbated by other...
Water Use in the Mining Industry
Freshwater resources are protected as industry begins to put emphasis on sustainability The mining industry has a great impact on water resources, both depleting water supplies with high usage and polluting them with discharges or seepage from tailings or waste rock impoundments. To put the scale of industry in perspective, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), 4 billion gallons of water were withdrawn for mining operations in the U.S. in 2015, up 1% from 2010. This accounted for 1% of...
Indian Thermal Power Plants Stressing Freshwater Resources
The World Resources Institute (WRI) recently reported sobering conclusions about the water use of India’s water-cooled thermal power plants, conclusions drawn from satellite imaging data. Thermal electricity generation has been experiencing explosive growth in India to prepare for an economy projected to double in size by 2030. But drought in 2016 closed power plants and forced a nationwide re-evaluation of policies regarding India’s water-energy nexus. Fourteen of the 20 largest thermal plants in...
Satellite Mission Tracks Freshwater Trends
NASA GRACE is showing that the wet are getting wetter and the dry are getting drier Accurate observation of the availability of fresh water is a valuable tool when it comes to forecasting global food supplies, health levels, energy supplies, and consequent social upheavals. But, tracking changes in the world’s hydrology has proven difficult with on-site measurement alone. The negatives include the cost of system installation and upkeep of instrumentation and networks, as well as limitations of the networks...
Measuring Water Stress
However it’s measured, water insufficiency affects billions around the world “Water stress” is a term we hear more and more, but its definition is not yet the same across organizations and national borders. California Water Sustainability, a project of University of California Davis, explains that one widely used tool, the Water Stress Index, is defined by the United Nations and many others as the difference between total water use and water availability. As supply and demand move closer,...