Boundary Waters Treaty


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Boundary Waters Treaty


The Boundary Waters Treaty is the 1909 treaty between the United States of America and Canada providing mechanisms for resolving any dispute over any waters bordering the two countries. The treaty covers the

“ Main shore to main shore of the lakes and rivers and connecting waterways, or the portions thereof, along which the international boundary between the United States and the Dominion of Canada passes, including all bays, arms, and inlets thereof, but not including tributary waters which in their natural channels would flow into such lakes, rivers, and waterways, or waters flowing from such lakes, rivers, and waterways, or the waters of rivers flowing across the boundary.”

Inter alia, the treaty guarantees that any navigable waters be "free and open."

The Treaty resulted from a need to settle and prevent disputes regarding the uses and apportionment of waters along the international boundary. The treaty established the International Joint Commission, the first permanent joint organization between Canada and the United States of America, to fix and apply the rules of boundary water resource use.

Negotiated for Canada mainly by George C. Gibbons, the treaty also prohibited the diversion of these waters without the commission's approval, proclaimed certain general principles of boundary water resource development, and called for an end to cross-boundary pollution. It failed, however, to impose sanctions against polluters or to prevent the diversion or damming of waters crossing the boundary.



See also

Water-related Legislation and Conventions

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Summary of the Text, History, and Geography of Boundary Waters Treaty

External Resources


 Summary of text, history and geography of Boundary waters Treaty.pdf

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