Boundary Waters Treaty

The Boundary Waters Treaty, 11 January 1909, between Canada and the US, resulted from a need to settle and prevent disputes regarding the uses and apportionment of waters along the international boundary. The treaty established the International Joint Commission, the first permanent joint organization between Canada and the US, to fix and apply the rules of boundary water resource use.

Negotiated for Canada mainly by George C. Gibbons, the treaty also prohibited the diversion of these waters without the commission's approval, proclaimed certain general principles of boundary water resource development, and called for an end to cross-boundary pollution. It failed, however, to impose sanctions against polluters or to prevent the diversion or damming of waters crossing the boundary.