Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



water resources, environmental law, water pollution control


Water is fundamental to life, as reflected in space scientists' compulsive search for signs of its presence when scrutinizing other planets for possible life forms. Fortunately for our species, more than two-thirds of our planet is covered with water, creating an environment richly conducive to life. Humans have just begun to appreciate how precious earth's water resources are and how vulnerable they are to damage from human activity. Efforts to protect earth's water resources from contamination have been among the most prominent catalysts for the development of environmental law thoroughout the world. After surveying this experience, this paper finds that water pollution control law has evolved in remarkably similar patterns around the world, despite enormous differences in local and regional conditions. The paper discusses lessons that can be learned from this transnational experience and how they can be applied to improve water pollution control programs around the world.