International Water Law has a long and complicated history. Tvedt’s point is that in order to understand its history and development it must be analysed in connection with the different countries’ institutional traditions, legal traditions and political history, as well as in relation to their different and changing water-society systems. The documentaries explore some of these situations, and Tvedt has more explicitly discussed and analysed these issues in connection with the Westphaler-peace accord and the agreement on the Rhine in 1648, and when it comes to the Nile agreement of 1929.
The more than 1000 years old water court or Tribunal of Waters in Valencia, Spain
The colonial history of the 1929 Nile agreement and implications today
The frontier of Kashmir – defining Indian-Pakistani water relations
Lesotho – the water tower of South Africa
Water police and laser watering in the US
In order therefore to understand the great variety in water law systems and their characteristics, it is necessary also to analyse the physical water systems as well as the particular histories of the regions in which these legal traditions were developed. It is crucial to understand that, for a long time, water law developed in a highly local manner that reflected the history, geography and political systems of the areas concerned, and how these contexts of time and specific localities shaped the legal discourse. But, at the same time, it is striking how the different water law systems of the world exhibit certain recurring patterns. This is partly the result of the diffusion or migration of ideas about water management and water law, but it also reflects the fact that water is not only particular, it is at the same time always universal in the sense that water has been the same everywhere: constantly in flux, seeking at all times a lower point, and ultimately escaping efforts at controlling it (See Tvedt 2004, 2016, and A History of Water, Series III, vol. II).