Fresh Water in International Law. By Laurence Boisson de Chazournes. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Pp. xvii, 265. Index. $120, 70 [pounds sterling].
International Law and Freshwater: The Multiple Challenges. Edited by Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Christina Leb, and Mara Tignino. Cheltenham UK, Northampton MA: Edward Elgar, 2013. Pp. xix, 463. Index. $210, 125 [pounds sterling].
Freshwater management systems, as well as the law applicable to those systems, face increasing stresses because of growing populations, growing economies, and growing global climate disruption. As a result, water law, ranging from the local to the national to the global, can no longer be a concern only to a handful of specialists. The development of international law specifically applicable to freshwater began in the second half of the nineteenth century. Treaties on freshwater issues proliferated thereafter, and a consensus emerged around the principle of "equitable and reasonable utilization" as the rule for transboundary water issues. The principle was first fully articulated in the International Law Association's Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers (1966). (1) The UN Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (1997) (2) (Watercourses Convention) largely codified the Helsinki Rules and enters into force this year. Yet, over the forty-eight years since the Helsinki Rules were approved, international law has developed bodies of law--primarily international environmental law, human rights law, and humanitarian law--that not only share a universal nature but also apply in significant measure to freshwater, often without regard to whether the waters in question cross international boundaries.
Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Professor of International Law at the University of Geneva, has recently published two works that together serve to introduce the casual reader to the role that international law plays in addressing these issues and that should be valuable to the specialist in the field. From this reviewer's perspective, the more noteworthy of the two books is her solely written volume, Fresh Water in International Law, which should be of particular interest to the specialist reader. International Law and Freshwater, a collection of essays that Boisson de Chazournes co-edited with Christina Leb and Mara Tignino, provides more of an introduction to the nonspecialist.
In Fresh Water in International Law, Boisson de Chazournes provides a highly readable account of the...