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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 59

by Professor J. Ganoulis, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki (Greece) and Professor L. Duckstein, University of Arizona, Tucson (U.S.A.)

Conflicts and controversial issues in the management of transboundary water resources have been traditionally analysed by two different scientific communities: experts in social sciences and policy making on the one hand and water resources engineers on the other. This book (NATO ASI SERIES 2-7) combines in a unique way the state-of-the-art of methods and tools of both of the above disciplines in order to resolve more efficiently transboundary water-related conflicts.

On a global scale, the importance of transboundary water resources is far from negligible: according to reports submitted to the UN, about 50% of the land on our planet (excluding Antarctica) is located in internationally shared water catchments. In this area about 40% of the world`s population lives, extending over more than 200 international river basins. Historically, rivers and lakes have been used to determine frontiers between countries and because of this have been at the origin of numerous conflicts throughout history (the Rhine between France and Germany, the Rio Grande between the USA and Mexico, the Oder and Neisse between Germany and Poland, and Amur and Ussuri between Russia and China, etc.). The fundamental question dealt with in this book is how and through what kind of processes water in transborder regions may unify rather than divide the nations and how stakeholders in international water catchments may increase their benefits without making the others lose theirs.

In order to analyze and understand the origin of water-related conflicts and provide the "optimal" or "acceptable" or "most beneficial" solution for all parties involved, various approaches have been developed by different scientific and interested communities, such as the engineering law, economic, political and social science communities, administrators and policy makers. The various theories and models may be categorized into two groups
- Descriptive or process models - Quantitative or outcome models.

This book attempts to show that policy and engineering decisions can and should be combined. The weaknesses of existing water management approaches are analyzed, namely (a) institutional and political science approaches may not help to resolve transboundary problems because they tend to overlook engineering reality and most engineering methods for decision-making (b) most engineering approaches to date include policy and institutional analysis, at best, as an afterthought.

Special features of this book include a general introduction reviewing the state-of-the-art in the field and separate prefaces to each of the three parts. The book starts by providing a framework for institutional analysis (Part I) and then blends it with the engineering approach (Part II); several international transboundary cases are analyzed (Part III) in order to provide clear guidelines for more effective conflict resolution in such transboundary water management and environmental problems.

In short, this book provides methods, tools, and demonstrative examples of modeling and solving water management and environmental problems in regions across boundaries - be they international, interregional or water resources authority boundaries. Methods are offered for a comprehensive approach to studying entire river basins and incorporating the linkage between different approaches: institutional analysis, engineering modeling, and conflict resolution. Problems requiring further research are also discussed.
Reference books: 2-7, E124, E257, E275, E299, G26, G29, C345

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