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Transboundary Offshore Aquifers

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A Search for a Governance Regime

image of Brill Research Perspectives in International Water Law

While the existence of freshwater offshore aquifers under continental shelves has been known for decades, none discovered thus far straddles international boundaries. In the event that an offshore aquifer shared by two or more nations is identified and targeted for development, selection of a governance regime for the aquifer will present a unique challenge, although several current legal systems could provide guidance. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea addresses maritime natural resources in formations such as the continental shelf. Well-established governance principles for development of offshore hydrocarbon reserves would also be relevant. While the law addressing transboundary land-based aquifers is still in a nascent stage, customary international water law has evolved over centuries and could provide guidance for offshore aquifers. This monograph explores principles, and proposes a governance regime for transboundary offshore aquifers.

Affiliations: 1: University of Strathclyde Environmental Law Institute International Water Resources Association

10.1163/23529369-12340002
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