Part IV Fundamental Rights and Obligations, C Groundwater, 13 The Special Case of Groundwater
Stephen C. McCaffrey
- Water — Rivers
This chapter explores the legal principles and rules that govern the use of shared groundwater resources. The different characteristics and behavior of groundwater would seem to justify stricter standards and more stringent protection than is applicable to surface water. The current legal regime governing surface water, as expressed in the United Nations Watercourses Convention, may be sufficiently flexible to be capable of adaptation to the particular requirements of groundwater, but this situation should prevail only until a special regime can be tailored for international groundwater. The legal regime applicable to so-called confined transboundary groundwater is even less clear than that applicable to international groundwater that is related to surface water, but there is support for applying the same rules to the former type of groundwater as to the other forms discussed in this chapter.