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365 The Columbia River Treaty in 2014 and Beyond: International Experiences and Lessons Learned Stephen McCaffrey, Richard Paisley, Lynette de Silva, and Aaron Wolf Introduction This chapter identifies lessons learned from recent international experience with transboundary waters governance that may be relevant to the Columbia River Basin in 2014 and beyond, with particular reference to minimum stream flows; stream flow and other hydrological changes associated with climate change; and the role of third parties in negotiating new or adjusted governance mechanisms for international waters. According to Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary General,“the water problems of our world need not be only a cause of tension: they can also be a catalyst for cooperation… If we work together, a secure and sustainable water future can be ours.”1 This is a message that has been echoed by academic scholars, including Geoffrey Dabelko,Ken Conca,and others (Carius et al.2004;Bencala and Dabelko, 2008).2 To help realize this cooperative potential in river basins, particularly as environmental, demographic, economic, and institutional changes challenge existing arrangements, it is helpful to share lessons from other riparian states that have successfully prevented conflict and mediated disputes. (Postel andWolf, 2001). Institutional Lessons from the International Community A review of international water relations and institutional development over the past fifty years provides important insights into water conflict and the role of institutions.The historical record of water conflict and cooperation suggests that while international watercourses can cause tensions between co-riparian states, they are more likely to to focus the political will to craft institutions and create mechanisms to collaborate. The centrality of institutions both in preventive hydro-diplomacy and in effective transboundary water management cannot be over-emphasized.Yet,while progress is indeed apparent,the past fifty years of treaty writing suggests that capacity-building opportunities still remain. Following are five characteristics of effective institutions: 1. An adaptable management structure. Effective institutional management structures incorporate a certain level of flexibility, which allows for public input, chang- 366 Stephen McCaffrey, Richard Paisley, Lynette de Silva & AaronWolf ing basin priorities, and new information and monitoring technologies. The adaptability of management structures must also extend to non-signatory riparians, by incorporating provisions addressing their needs, rights, and potential accession. Clear and flexible criteria for water allocations and water quality management. Allocations, which are at the heart of most water disputes, are a function of water quantity and quality,as well as political fiat.Thus,effective institutions must identify clear allocation schedules and water quality standards that simultaneously provide for extreme hydrological events; new understanding of basin dynamics, including groundwater reserves;and changing societal values.Additionally,riparian states may consider prioritizing uses throughout the basin.Establishing catchment-wide water precedents may not only help to avert inter-riparian conflicts over water use, but will also protect the environmental health of the basin as a whole. 3. Equitable distribution of benefits. Distributing water benefits, a concept that is subtly yet powerfully different than pure water allocation, is at the root of some of the world’s most successful institutions. Distributing benefits—whether from hydropower, agriculture, economic development, aesthetics, or the preservation of healthy aquatic ecosystems allows for positive-sum agreements, occasionally including even non-water-related gains in a “basket of benefits,” whereas dividing the water itself only allows for winners and losers. 4.Concrete mechanisms to enforce treaty provisions.Once a treaty is signed,successful implementation is dependent not only on the actual terms of the agreement but also on the ability to enforce them. Appointing oversight bodies with decisionmaking and enforcement authority is one important step towards maintaining cooperative management institutions. 5. Detailed conflict resolution mechanisms. Many basins continue to experience disputes even after a treaty is negotiated and signed. Thus, incorporating clear mechanisms for resolving conflicts is a prerequisite for effective, long-term basin management. The Columbia River and the Columbia RiverTreaty In recognition of the general importance of cooperating with regard to their many shared water resources, Canada and the United States concluded an agreement in 1909 known as the Boundary Waters Treaty, which established an International Joint Commission (IJC) to govern their relations.3 The regulation and management of the Columbia River began to first receive serious consideration in 1944 when the subject was referred to the IJC for study. One of the IJC recommendations was that the power production benefits in the United States from upstream storage in Canada be shared on a substantially equal basis, provided that an equal split of...

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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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