Water Geopolitics in North America

Center for US Studies, Fall 2004

Posted: 10 Aug 2004

See all articles by Elisabeth A. Vallet

Elisabeth A. Vallet

University of Quebec at Montreal - Faculty of Political Science and Law


Water has become a focal point for recurring tensions and conflicts the world over. With global demand for freshwater growing steadily, Canada cannot be oblivious to the fact that it holds 20% of the planet's potable water resources. Water thus is a continental issue: by 2020, the water shortfall in the U.S. may equal its total current consumption. The sharing of continental water resources appears inevitable. Water is also a contentious domestic issue in Canada: while Ottawa opposes construction of a pipeline to carry water to the U.S., the Premier of Newfoundland has indicated that he is seriously considering marketing his province's water. While there is little likelihood the issue will spark a full-blown conflict in North America, it may well fan political and economic tensions within the Canadian Confederation and between Canada and the U.S. Our paper takes stock of this controversy and particularly addresses the impact of the free-trade agreements on Canada's free disposition of its water resources.

Keywords: Water, canada, free-trade, North-America

JEL Classification: N40

Suggested Citation

Vallet, Elisabeth A., Water Geopolitics in North America. Center for US Studies, Fall 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=573761

Elisabeth A. Vallet (Contact Author)

University of Quebec at Montreal - Faculty of Political Science and Law ( email )

Montreal, Quebec H3C 3P8

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