Hydogeological Perspective of Status of Ground Water Resources Under the UN Watercourse Convention




Eckstein, Gabriel

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Columbia Journal of Environmental Law


When the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses in 1997, it took a decisive step in recognizing the important role that transboundary ground water resources play in human progress and development. In so doing, it also acknowledged the need to establish principles of law governing this "invisible" but valuable natural resource. Transboundary ground water historically has been neglected in treaties, ignored in projects with international implications, and cursorily misunderstood in much of legal discourse. Focusing on the scope and definitions, this article critically examines the treatment of ground water under the Convention from a hydrogeological perspective. Using six science-based aquifer models with transboundary implications (representing the majority of transboundary aquifers presently known in nature), the analysis identifies the types of aquifers that are included within the scope of the Convention and assesses the rationale for excluding other aquifer types. The article also considers the special case of non-recharging aquifers.



International watercourses, Transboundary ground water, Transboundary aquifer


30 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 525