|Transboundary Water Management
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
31 Jan 2011
Across the fence negotiations
Be it the Ganges, Cauvery or Krishna, sharing river waters across sub-national or international boundaries has remained a formidable challenge. For decades on end, the treaties and tribunals haven’t been able to strike a deal for water sharing amidst warring sub-regions and regions. Quite often such conflicting situations get politicized beyond redemption, forcing popular sentiments to run over cooperative processes.
Yet, there are rivers like Mekong, Nile and Danube, passing through 6, 9 and 10 countries respectively, whose waters has been amicably shared amongst riparian countries. Notable is the fact that despite being culturally and politically diverse, countries in Africa, Europe and East Asia have been able to check politically hazardous conditions from overwhelming the water-sharing principles.
As the name suggests, the book provides an idealized view of how transboundary water management should be done. However, what should happen is not necessarily what does happen in real life. To illustrate the complexity involved in managing water across boundaries, fifteen diverse but successful initiatives from river-basins across the world have been presented. These cases present an experience-based inventory of strategies for transboundary water governance.
Transboundary Water Management is a well-researched book that not only provides the theoretical basis of managing water across boundaries but enlists approaches that have indeed worked too. As water rises higher on the political agenda, with lives of more and more people being either affected by too much or too little water, the book should provide a conceptual framework for planners and politicians to negotiate their compelling concerns.
It is a book of hope that considers transboundary waters a challenge that can be dealt with.
Transboundary Water Management
by Anton Earle, Anders Jagerskog and Joakin Ojendal (Eds)
Earthscan, London; 261 pages, US$ 60