The Greening of Water Law: Managing Freshwater Resources for People and the Environment
United Nations Environmental Program, 2010
143 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2011 Last revised: 2 Jan 2013
Date Written: September 30, 2010
A central challenge facing nations today is how to ensure that both people and the natural environment have adequate freshwater to sustain and nourish their existence. In many parts of the world, communities actually compete with nature for dwindling supplies, to the detriment of both. Most often, though, water for the environment is not a priority in water management practices, the result of which has gravely impacted the natural environment, especially the aquatic environment. Water, however, is an inseparable component of life, both human and environmental. It forms a relationship based on the intricacies of both the hydrologic cycle and the interdependencies of all life on Earth. When water resources are degraded, they can impact every form of life, including human life. The challenge, therefore, is to overcome the need for competition and to find ways to harmonize the water requirements of people with those of the natural environment.
Potentially, the most effective means for achieving such harmonization is to integrate environmental concerns into national and international water laws and policies. The goal of such integration is to ensure that the water needs of both people and the natural environment are considered collectively and balanced in a way that will further the sustainable use of freshwater resources while maintaining ecosystem integrity.
“The Greening of Water Law: Managing Freshwater Resources for People and the Environment” explores the notion and the benefits of greening water law by presenting and assessing a variety of legal, procedural and policy mechanisms, for both national and international arenas, that can help to elevate the status and importance of environmental concerns in relation to other societal interests and harmonize the water needs of both people and the natural environment.
The greening of water law is both a theoretical and practical effort to modernize legal regimes governing the management and allocation of freshwater resources. It is based on the recognition that the life and well-being of people and the natural environment are interrelated and even interdependent and that the coordination of the needs of these two water-dependent stakeholders will further the sustainable use of freshwater resources for both. It is also founded on the notion that by ensuring adequate supplies of clean freshwater for the environment, people, communities, and nations, the human condition can be enhanced through improved health and more sustainable resource exploitation and economic development.
Keywords: Water Law, International Water Law, International Environmental Law
JEL Classification: I18, I28, K11, K32, K33, Q25, Q28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation