Application of Conflict Resolution Techniques to the Problem of International River Basin Management

Wood, E.F. (1975). Application of Conflict Resolution Techniques to the Problem of International River Basin Management. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-75-048

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The objective of the proposed research is to bring recent, advanced techniques of hydrologic modeling, optimization and conflict resolution, within a decision-theoretic framework to bear upon problems of international water resource management. The proposed research contains two parts: a theoretical development of analytical tools of conflict resolution and decision analysis as they apply to water resource problems, and a case study of their application to a large scale international water resource system with existing development conflicts.

The need for cooperation in the development and management of international river basins has long been recognized. The international basin forms an indispensable hydrologic unit when water resource developments are undertaken. It is of extreme importance to the parties involved that the consequences of such actions within the basin be fully analyzed. The difficulties in specifying the hydrologic consequences of various development plans, quantifying economic and social benefits to each country, and the criteria upon which various competing development plans would be evaluated will be investigated fully during the proposed research. The research is establishing tradeoffs between riparian countries which can then be used in resolving resource conflicts and establishing efficient joint development plans.

Our motivation arises from the knowledge that continued research will reduce the above problems, and that the proposed research will add significantly to concepts of basin wide planning on international rivers, with application in regions where the sharing of water resources occurs. Furthermore, techniques developed under this research should apply, in general, to other problems of international resource conflicts. Examples such as high seas fisheries (salmon and whale), seabed mineral resources and Antarctic land use are three areas outside of water resources which, at the moment, are the subject of negotiation and conflict among nations.

The proposed research will emphasize techniques that can be effectively applied. For this reason, the case study problem is of great importance to the success of the research effort. One proposed case study for the demonstration of these techniques is an area of the Tisza River, whose basin is shared by five riparian countries. Developments are occurring within these countries (such as the construction of flood levees) which have severe and unconsidered effects upon adjoining countries. Joint development within the Tisza Basin may be possible which would result in greater aggregate benefits within the basin as a whole than individual developments provide. Further, individual planning may and does lead to conflict regarding artificial changes in the quantity and temporal distribution of the water resources. The Tisza basin presents an excellent vehicle to demonstrate that basin wide planning techniques and resource sharing could reduce such conflicts and result in greater benefits for the river basin as a whole. It is not the purpose of the case study to formulate actual planning policies, rather the case study will be of a descriptive nature for the demonstration of basin wide planning techniques as they could apply to any river basin.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Resources and Environment Area (REN)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:42
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:07

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