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Ground Water. 2005 Sep-Oct;43(5):700-5.

A framework for resolving the transboundary water allocation conflict conundrum.

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1
Third Leg Consultants. marty@thirdlegconsultants.com

Abstract

This paper describes a methodology for resolving transboundary water disputes that arise when people/states/nations sharing a resource that crosses legal/political jurisdictions disagree about the use of the resource. Laws and treaties written in an attempt to settle disputes are frequently neither enforced nor effective, and disagreements continue. Crises, arising through resource overuse or shortages, worsen the conflict and typically result in further discord, lawsuits, depletion of the resource, and even open-armed hostility. Many water management experts call for either private/market-based or state/command-and-control resource management systems, but these eventually break down during crisis. The crises therefore necessitate the adoption of a more effective institutional arrangement to address and resolve present and future problems. A better alternative to management by private or state entities and the resolution of conflicts by the mere application of law is a cooperative approach. The Rowland-Ostrom Framework, introduced in this paper, incorporates Ostrom's eight design principles for sustainable common pool resource management within the context of crisis that involves an urgent threat to the quantity or quality of a resource such as water, as described by the author. This paper demonstrates that although established 15 years ago, Ostrom's design principles remain applicable today for effective, sustainable transboundary water management, and the Rowland-Ostrom Framework is a model for the equitable use of shared water resources throughout the world.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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