Legal Perspectives on Bridging Science and Policy, by Mara Tignino, Raya Marina Stephan, Renée Martin-Nagle and Owen McIntyre (eds.), Water International, AIDA Special Issue, Vol. 44, No. 3, April 2019

This volume, which represents the third of previous AIDA special issues of Water International (37:6, 2012 and 41:6, 2016),  gathers selected papers on law and governance presented at the IWRA’s 16th World Water Congress, held in Cancun, Mexico, in 2017. AIDA has played a key role as a contributor to this congress by leading the delivery of the programme’s water law and governance track. The articles selected and published in the volume outline the role of law in water management and suggest solutions to make laws flexible and adaptive to changes in scientific knowledge and environmental, social and economic conditions. Each contribution addresses the topic with a different focus and offers an in-depth analysis of legal challenges related to the creation of interdisciplinary bridges. S. Burchi opens the issue with an exploration of the latest trends in the development of domestic water law through an analysis of the evolving legal frameworks of countries representing different regions of the world. He highlights the emerging role of the environment, the increasing attention being paid to the impacts of land-based activities on water quality and natural water-retention processes, and concerns about providing proper recognition of custom-based rights and practices. He further identifies emerging trends, including the human right to water, the recognition of legal personalities in rivers and the promotion of alternative dispute-resolution mechanisms to facilitate access to justice in water disputes. Looking at Canada, D. Curran examines the ability of provincial water laws to adapt to changing hydrologic conditions when there is no longer enough water to secure all water entitlements. She notes that administrative orders regarding allocation are becoming increasingly common due to low flows or over-allocations, particularly in the west of the country. After analyzing the context of water law in Canada, she concludes that water law reform must enable planning, assessment of cumulative effects and monitoring at the basin scale, and must include recognition of the Aboriginal rights to water. Herrera et al. consider water disputes in Chile, where water management and allocation are based on a free-market approach. They provide a multidimensional study of adjudicated disputes involving water rights, which shows a substantial increase of legal disputes regarding water rights, as well as legal arguments and strategies used in their pursuit. Bolado and Pateiro explain how water considerations affect Spanish urban planning. After decades of unsustainable growth based on property speculation and rampant construction, legislative and judicial interventions have recently mandated that proof of the existence of sufficient water resources to fulfil the estimated needs of any urban planning must be provided before authorization for new projects may be granted. E. Garner provides key information for improving the effectiveness of aquifer management efforts worldwide. He identifies and elaborates on the factors that have led to successful management of certain aquifers, such as the Geneva Aquifer in France and Switzerland, the Los Sotillos Aquifer in Spain, the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer in Idaho, and a number of California basins. E.  Quadri examines the evolution of cooperation in the case of the transboundary Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, shared by Chad, Egypt, Libya and Sudan. She notes the importance of procedural norms in this evolution and recommends increased reliance on substantive norms in order to reach a more mature level of cooperation based on the 2008 UN Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers. The volume concludes with two contributions dealing with the impacts of water management on two different aspects of biodiversity: migratory fish in Finland (Soininen et al.), and forests in Ecuador and Arizona (Moscoso and Larson). This Special Issue is available from