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1 Introduction to Parts I, II, III Barbara Cosens, Lynette de Silva,Adam M. Sowards This book is an outgrowth of the first University of Idaho College of Law Natural Resources and Environment Symposium held in 2009, which focused on the issue of transboundary water governance in the face of uncertainty.The symposium used the natural laboratory of the Columbia Basin, shared by the United States and Canada, as a focal point for discussion and the following question as the point of integration for contributions: How do we design and implement governance of international watercourses in the face of uncertainty? The symposium was developed in collaboration with researchers from Oregon State University, University of Montana, University of British Columbia, and Washington State University. Representatives of the first four of these universities and the Universities of Washington and Calgary have joined to form the Universities Consortium on Columbia River Governance and continue to work with stakeholders in the basin to inform issues of governance.The Consortium has evolved to focus on three efforts within the basin: (1) to provide a yearly forum for an informal cross-border dialogue on the future of the Columbia River Basin; (2) to connect Consortium university research to stakeholders in the basin; and (3) to engage students at Consortium universities in relevant research and curriculum both to serve the basin and to provide a natural laboratory for understanding issues of water basin governance. This collaborative effort among academics and the people of the Columbia River Basin was inspired by a moment in time. Joint operation of the river for the purposes of hydropower production and flood control is governed by a 1964 treaty between the United States and Canada (reproduced in the Appendix). Certain of the flood-control provisions expire in 2024, and either country must provide ten years notice should it seek to terminate the treaty. Thus efforts are underway to understand and predict changes within the basin and to determine whether those changes warrant modification of the treaty.The expiration of provisions that have protected basin residents and businesses from flooding, and the need to review the treaty provide a window of opportunity and a potential for open dialogue not otherwise present in the daily operation of the river under a treaty that, for its intended purposes, works. At the same time, the absence of any immediate crisis provides both the basin and the researchers with time to explore and undertake a measured dialogue. 2 Barbara Cosens, Lynette de Silva & Adam M. Sowards This volume is a contribution to the effort to explore the question of water governance in the face of uncertainty. The specific application to the Columbia River allows the reader to explore that question in the realities and constraints of a real international basin. In the Columbia River Basin, as elsewhere, political boundaries were drawn without consideration of river basin boundaries. In fact, 276 surface water resources cross international boundaries (Oregon State University Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, 2011). Over the next decade, several contributing factors could trigger rapid change and social and economic instability in these international watersheds, placing greater demands on competing water interests and a greater need to cooperate across jurisdictional boundaries.The contributing factors explored in this volume as a subset of drivers of change are: changing values; empowerment of local communities; a threatened and deteriorating ecosystem; and climate change. Uncertainty in these social and ecological factors challenges traditional approaches to governance of transboundary water resources—approaches that rely on the certainty that historic data concerning water supply, demand, values, and ecosystem health can be used to predict the future; approaches that protect sovereignty through clear upfront rules for dividing benefits across political boundaries rather than flexibility to adapt to change and foster system resilience. Part I of the volume begins with an exploration of the treaty itself, how it is implemented,and the social changes reflected in both increased local empowerment and changing values since 1964. Contributions from historians Jeremy Mouat, Paul W.Hirt,andAdam M.Sowards provide bookends to Part I by placing first the treaty and then the changing values of the people of the Columbia River Basin within the larger context of environmental history.The intervening articles describe how the treaty is implemented by those charged with the task, and changes in local empowerment, capacity, and values viewed through both legal changes and the voices of those in the basin. Part II addresses two of the prominent ecological changes underway in the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780870716928
Related ISBN
9780870716911
MARC Record
OCLC
830023889
Pages
464
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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