Governing Transboundary Waters
Canada, the United States and Indigenous Communities
Routledge – 2014 – 256 pages
With almost the entire world’s water basins crossing political borders of some kind, understanding how to cooperate with one’s neighbor is of global relevance. With this aim, this book explores the nuances of transboundary water governance through the exploration of the "friendly" Canada-US border. The border is colloquially known as the "longest undefended border in the world", but in reality it is a border under increased scrutiny and security measures.
The author starts by showing how the Canada-US relationship offers a long history of analysis, with more than a century of documented shared water governance. In addition, the increased leadership of indigenous actors (First Nations and Native Americans) in the governance of shared resources provides an important avenue to challenge borders as fixed, both in terms of natural resource governance and citizenship. The historical territories of such indigenous communities may predate and challenge the current borders. Thus, the inclusion of a "third sovereign" in the discussion of Canada-U.S. relations provides a rich opportunity to analyze the cultural politics of transboundary water governance.
In this context, the book explores the issue of what makes a good up-stream neighbor and analyzes the rescaling of transboundary water governance. It highlights the role of sub-national and non-state actors in charting new territory in water governance. To highlight the changing patterns of water governance, it focuses on four case studies that grapple with transboundary water issues at different scales and with different constructions of border politics, from the Pacific coastline to the Great Lakes.
Part 1: Rescaling Transboundary Water Governance
2. Situating the Literature – A Conceptual Approach
3. Mandates and Modalities of Transboundary Cooperative Mechanisms
4. The Changing Face of Transboundary Governance
Part 2: The Stories Behind the Change
5. Shellfish Harvesting in Boundary Bay – Cleaning up Your Water for Our Fish
6. The Third Sovereign: Indigenous Leadership in Transnational Environmental Governance
7. Rescaling Water Governance: From Federal-Federal to Watershed Initiatives
8. What Boundary? What Whale? Whose Responsibility? The Blurring of Political and Cultural Boundaries in Marine Governance
Emma S. Norman is an Assistant Professor of Geography at Michigan Technological University, USA. Previously she worked in the Program on Water Governance, University of British Columbia, Canada, and for ten years was on the Faculty, Native Environmental Science Program, Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, Washington State.