Water-related Legislation and Conventions

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Websites: The Rights to Water and Sanitation Information Portal | UN Independent Expert on Right to Water and Sanitation Webpage

What are the predominant water-related conventions? What is their status of ratification? What international and regional law governs water-related issues? Find out below.

The chief international legal document related to international water resources management is the UN Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses, adopted by the UN General Assembly in May 1997. (See the press release for who voted and who did not. Some interesting insights!) This has largely superseded the "Helsinki Agreement" (Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, Helsinki, 17 March 1992). However, a wide array of international, regional and subregional water-related legal conventions and agreements exist.


UN Documents

EU Legislation


(Sub-) Regional Conventions and Treaties


See Also

External Resources

US EPA Water Laws, Regulations, Policy, Guidance and Legislation

International Conventions

UNECE Water Convention website

International Water Law Project - The International Water Law Project website was created to provide pertinent information on international water law and policy and related topics. Specifically, it offers treaties, articles, news stories, case law, Internet links, and other relevant information.

Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators - ENTRI is an online service for accessing multilateral environmental treaty data.

European Water Framework Directive - This site provides information on the different pieces of water legislation (and related policies) in the European Community.

International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage - The Commission is a Scientific, Technical and Voluntary Not-for-profit Non-Governmental International Organization dedicated to enhancing the worldwide supply of food and fibre for all people by improving water and land management and the productivity of irrigated and drained lands through appropriate management of water, environment and application of irrigation, drainage and flood management techniques.

International Commission on Large Dams - ICOLD is an international non-governmental organization which provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in dam engineering. The organization leads the profession in ensuring that dams are built safely, efficiently, economically, and without detrimental effects on the environment. The web page has information about different themes related to dams: safety dams, sustainable dams, food, energy, hydrology and floods.

International Environmental Agreements

Ministerial Declaration of The Hague on Water Security in the 21st Century

Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database

UN Treaty Collection

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The Water Page on International Water Law

Water/Health as Human Right WHO on Water as a Human Right

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