Water is one of the most widely shared resources on the planet, and the most vital for human survival after oxygen. It has a capacity to unite people that share a source of water, or to incite conflict among them as they compete for it. The latter, reaching the point of "water wars", has become increasingly common in the media, but the contents of this Atlas show that treaties, not wars, are the norm. This atlas is a step in the consolidation and dissemination of information about shared water treaties. It is a compilation of the available historical record of the very many treaties and agreements concluded in regard to the water resources of rivers and lakes shared across international borders, and offers fresh, compelling testimony to water being an agent of co-operation rather than of conflict. Moreover, the thematic maps featured in the atlas help understand why this is so, and add new perspective to that of the legal records which make up most of the atlas. Thanks to its double feature as reference book and an original instrument of analysis of water-related treaty-making, the atlas should be of value not only to those who study the practice of states in this matter but also, and above all, to those who fashion such practice and articulate the negotiating positions which eventually inform it.
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