In Module 9 we examined several case studies in which significant issues have arisen as the result of large river systems flowing across or along international boundaries and the need for that water to be apportioned among two or more countries. Indeed, we have seen that the same issues accompany sharing of water among states in the U.S. There is an explicit responsibility for all parties in such sharing agreements to abide by the terms of the treaties that dictate them. It is usually implicit that all parties to the agreement are attentive to water quality issues. But, in some cases, there are explicit terms that establish water-quality standards, as in elements of the Colorado Compact that dictates the volume and TDS for Colorado River water supplied to Mexico. Clearly, on the basis of examples offered in this module, most agreements/treaties/compacts are inadequate, particularly when they were negotiated decades in the past. In addition, there are commonly no effective enforcement procedures short of armed conflicts—diplomacy is ineffective.
Reminder - Complete all of the Module 9 tasks!
You have reached the end of Module 9! Double-check the to-do list on the Module 9 Roadmap to make sure you have completed all of the activities listed there before you begin Module 10.
References and Further Reading
The Big Thirst Chapters 5, 9, and 10