1st Edition

The International Law of Transboundary Groundwater Resources

By Gabriel Eckstein Copyright 2017
    186 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides a comprehensive review of the state of international law as it applies to transboundary groundwater resources and aquifers. The main focus is on recent developments and the emerging international law for transboundary aquifers as reflected in the practice of states and the work of the UN International Law Commission, UN Economic Commission for Europe, and International Law Association.

    The author takes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject matter and provides the scientific hydro-geological underpinning for the application of law and policy to transboundary groundwater resources. He also addresses the growing global dependence on this hidden resource, as well as both the historical and scientific context for development of the law.

    The book provides case examples throughout to illustrate the various concepts and developments. These include more detailed examinations of the few existing transboundary aquifer agreements in operation, such as for aquifers between France and Switzerland and Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as well as aquifers in North Africa and in South America.


    1. Introduction: Groundwater at the Global Level

    2. Understanding Groundwater Resources and Aquifers

    3. Groundwater Resources in a Transboundary Context

    4. Early Legal Treatment of Groundwater Resources

    5. Groundwater and Aquifers under the U.N. Watercourses Convention

    6. Groundwater and Aquifers under the UN Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers

    7. Trends in the Evolution of International Law for Transboundary Aquifers

    8. Gaps in the Law of Transboundary Aquifers

    Annex A. Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers

    Annex B. UNECE Model Provisions on Transboundary Groundwaters


    Gabriel Eckstein is Professor of Law and Director of the School of Law’s Program in Natural Resources Systems at Texas A&M University, Fort Worth, Texas, USA. He regularly consults on transboundary and national water resource issues at the intersection of law, policy, governance, and science.

    "The latest, most comprehensive and authoritative Summa of all that one wanted to know about the law of transboundary aquifers – and was afraid to ask. Gabriel Eckstein’s masterful treatment of this esoteric topic from a multi-disciplinary perspective is a must for any one dealing with, or simply curious about groundwater, and wants to find out how states handle it from a policy and legal angle when aquifers lie astride the borders of countries" - Stefano Burchi, Executive Chairman, International Association of Water Law; former Chief, Development Law Service, UN Food and Agriculture Organization

    "The book is a comprehensive compilation and thorough analysis of the law of transboundary groundwater. It follows a multi-disciplinary approach, augmented by the unique qualifications of the author as a hydro-geologist and international water lawyer. The book fills a large gap, and is certainly a major and timely addition to the field." - Dr. Salman M.A Salman, Editor-in-Chief, International Water Law journal; former World Bank Water Law Adviser

    "This is a very timely book as it pulls together a history of the evolution of the linkage between hydrogeology and International Water Law. It also provides the reader with rare insight into the application of the Draft Articles to transboundary aquifers and their specific typologies. I would recommend this to be essential reading for scholars pursuing the synergy between water law and international groundwater management." - Shammy Puri, Chair, IAH Commission on Transboundary Aquifers & Principal Advisor to UNESCO-ISARM Programme

    "This is a much needed and timely publication that fills a large gap in the literature. It is particularly unique because of its interdisciplinary and science-based approach to the regulation of groundwater resources that cross international frontiers. Accordingly, it should be required reading for groundwater scientists and managers, as well as policy-makers, working on the management and governance of transboundary aquifers." - Alice Aureli, Chief of Section on Groundwater Systems and Human Settlements, UNESCO - Division of Water Sciences, International Hydrological Programme

    "An insightful contribution to a critical body of international law. The book should be on the shelf of academics, practitioners and policy makers in the field of transboundary water resources." - Attila M. Tanzi, Chair of International Law, School of Law, University of Bologna, Italy

    "The International Law of Transboundary Groundwater Resources is unique because it is written for both water-law practitioners and hydrogeologists by an international water lawyer with a geology degree. The first three chapters are excellent overviews for water lawyers... The final two chapters provide excellent summaries of the trends and gaps in international law for transboundary aquifers." - W. Todd Jarvis in Groundwater, National Ground Water Association (December 2017)

    "This book can easily be considered as the most important reference on the law of transboundary groundwater resources. The beauty of The International Law of Transboundary Groundwater Resources derives from its ability to present the complexity of the topic in plain and simple language for anyone interested in the topic without any specific expertise, bridging the science and policy perspectives into one book." - Rosario Sanchez in The Texas Water Journal, Texas Water Resource Institute (March 2018)