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International, European and Domestic Water Law

Organizing institution
Utrecht University, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance (UU)
Course code
Course fee (incl. housing)
€ 700
Bachelor level

We need water to survive. Water is used to drink, for agriculture (irrigation), as source of power and means of transportation (rivers). To avoid water wars, we need to regulate our use of (shared) water courses. To protect the waters for future generations, we need to ensure their sustainable exploitation and management. Law is the tool to achieve this. In this course, we will introduce the participants to all levels of water governance: the international, regional (EU), and domestic level.

The course introduces the students to the following four substantive themes of water law, examined from the international, European and domestic perspective:

1. The legal status of water
This theme addresses the fundamental question about the status of water. How is water perceived at the various regulatory levels? What are the implications of this in respect of, for example, sovereign rights to water, property rights and commercial interests?

2. Water safety and flood protection
This theme addresses legal aspects related to water safety, including flood protection and combating subsidence. It includes the duty to notify and cooperate, as regulated in the UN Watercourses Convention of 1997, the applicability of the no-harm principle and due diligence obligations as well as safety strategies as developed within the EU framework and issues pertaining to urban water management.

3. Water quality and protection of drinking water resources

Water quality refers to the chemical and ecological status of surface water and water systems. The focus in this theme is on transboundary pollution issues, the duty to prevent and contain, the distribution of pollution quotas as well as the management of transboundary aquifers and watercourses.

4. Sustainable use of water
Sustainability at the international level pertaining to water management is framed within integrated water resources management. Questions include: how does the sustainable use of water relate to equitable and reasonable use of water? What is the relationship between sustainable use of water and transboundary harm? How can water services (waste water collection and treatment/ sanitation and drinking water supply) be regulated and financed in a way that stimulates a sustainable use of water?

An excursion to an international institution in the field of water management is part of the program. More details will follow later.

Tags: international water law, european water law, domestic water law, sustainable development, water safety, water quality, water law

» Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

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Prof dr. Helena F.M.W. van Rijswick


Anoeska Buijze
Andrea Keessen
Herman Kasper Gilissen
Liping Dai
Marleen van Rijswick
Otto Spijkers
Remco Nehmelman


The course participants could include (post)graduate students, academics, professionals working in water-related sectors, and others interested in the regulation of the use of freshwater resources.


The aim of the course is to provide a basic introduction to selected issues of international, European and domestic water law.


6 hours teaching during 4 days.
2 hours reading per day.
Marks on the basis of a presentation at the end.


• € 700 - Course + course materials + housing
• € 500 - Course + course materials


» Overview of all available discounts


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.


mr. dr. Otto Spijkers
Achter Sint Pieter 200
Room 1.20
Phone direct: 030 253 7095
Phone Secretariat: 030 253 7038
Email: o.spijkers@uu.nl

» Contact Utrecht Summer School


Deadline for registration: 30 June 2017

Application closed