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Part I Introduction, 2 The Concept and Reality of the International Watercourse System

From: The Law of International Watercourses (3rd Edition)

Stephen C. McCaffrey

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 03 October 2023

Freshwater — Lakes — Rivers

This chapter examines the behavior of Earth’s water system and the concept of the international watercourse. Most of the water on Earth is in constant motion in the hydrologic cycle, which consists of the evaporation of water into the atmosphere, chiefly from the sea, and its return to Earth through precipitation and condensation. Surface waters contained in rivers and lakes are merely one small part of Earth’s hydrologic cycle. Because there is always groundwater underlying, and related to, surface water, any attempt to regulate one without addressing the other would be futile. Moreover, the constant movement of Earth’s water through the hydrologic cycle means that it would be futile for any one state to attempt to subject fresh water within its borders to absolute control.

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