As a result of the nature of lakes, rivers and aquifers, which ignore national boundaries, states are often presented with the problem of how to share and manage these limited resources. The role of law is to clarify the rights and responsibilities of states in such situations. Two aspects of the law of international water resources will be explored in this article. The point of departure for the analysis is public international law itself, which contains principles and guidelines for the utilization and management of water resources by the states which share them. The international legal regime applying to surface water will first be discussed. The second part of the article will consist of a comparison of several treaty regimes which presently apply in a situation of shared water resources between states.

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