Transboundary aquifers along the Canada-USA border: science, policy and social issues

Transboundary aquifers along the Canada-USA border: science, policy and social issues

Year of publication: 
Name of publisher / organisation and location: 

Study region: Canada–USA border. 

Study focus: Since 2005, Canada has followed international developments in transboundary groundwater issues in cooperation with its southern neighbor the United States (USA) within the Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management Initiative (ISARM) of UNESCO. As a result, 10 Transboundary Aquifer Systems (TAS) were identified along the border between Canada and the USA. This study is an extensive review of the current state of the 10 TAS. Documentation of scientifically-based knowledge on TAS is an important step in identifying potential issues in policies that might be adopted to address shared water-resource issues.

New hydrological insights for the region: This analysis emphasizes the need for more scientific data, widespread education and training, and a more clearly defined governments’ role to manage groundwater at the international level. The study reviews the current legal framework and summarises the current scientific knowledge for the TAS with respect to the hydrologic and geologic framework as well as some of the major drivers for supply and demand. It also describes the links, approach and relevance of studies on the TAS to the UN Law of Transboundary Aquifers and on how these might fit in the regional strategy for the assessment and management of the TAS. Clear communication, shared knowledge and common objectives in the management of TAS will prepare the countries for future negotiations and cooperative binational programs.

Journal or book title: 
Journal of Hydrology
Rivera, A.
Country/countries and or aquifer(s) covered in publication: 
United States of America
Abbotsford-Sumas Aquifer
Okanagan-Osoyoos Aquifer
Grand Forks Aquifer
Poplar Aquifer
Estevan Aquifer
Northern Great Plains Aquifer
Châteauguay Aquifer
Judith River Aquifer
Milk River Transboundary Aquifer