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However, long-term avoidance would have to be predicated on a rising supply and measurable reduction in demand across the entire upper Colorado River Basin, providing evidence that shortages would not be permanent. In years of drought, the Compact minimum flow obligation poses a problem. In the late s, Colorado Basin water planners discussed the issue of how water surpluses could be shared and allocated. Then came the drought of , and discussions changed focus to shortages.

In , the Secretary of the Interior directed the U. Bureau of Reclamation to develop additional strategies for improving coordinated management of the reservoirs of the Colorado River system. In response, Reclamation initiated a process to develop operational guidelines that can be used to address the operations of Lake Powell and Lake Mead during drought and low reservoir conditions. The parties recognized that as time marched on, the guidelines and their underlying hydrologic assumptions would have to be re-examined to account for changing climate, supply and demand conditions, and shortages.

Lake Mead, created by Hoover Dam, is a major storage supply on the Colorado River for the lower basin states. Shown in Feb. A conclusion? Current supply to the lower basin, and therefore the upper basin, is at risk. To date, the winter of has produced snowpack at below-average levels.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Additionally, as one attempts to look into the future by using past evidentiary data paleohydrology , the conclusion is that future water supplies could be at risk as well. The evidence shows that it was common for drought to extend for decades.


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The project had five components, including institutional strengthening, community-level conservation, environmental education, water quality monitoring, and wetlands and biodiversity. Water Resources Management Project: The project aims to support the development, management and protection of the Nile Basin water resources, as well as to promote the socioeconomic development in the Nile Basin. The project is focused on improving national water policies through the use of good practices and integrated water resources management, enacting cross-border projects, and developing a Nile Basin Decision Support System to exchange information, support dialogue and identify investment projects.

Shared Vision Coordination Project: This project, which was established at the Nile-SEC, was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the other seven projects.

ASCE - Guideline for Development of Effective Water Sharing Agreements | Engineering

The project was also charged with developing procedures concerning quality control and fiduciary duties, performing monitoring and evaluation of the projects, and promoting information sharing among both the NBI and the public. Relationships: NBI programs are supported by international donors as participants in the International Consortium for Cooperation on the Nile.

See Funding and Financing.


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  4. See Organizational Structure. Dispute Resolution: No specific provision. See Functions. The UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses came into effect on August 17, setting up the first global legal framework for cooperation over water resources between countries. We asked seven regional experts for their views. Beth Walker: Will the Convention have any significant effect on discussions over the use of international rivers in China and South Asia? South Asian countries and China are not legally bound by the Convention as none of them ratified it.

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    Geopolitical and strategic imperatives do not justify a state becoming a party to the Convention unless other states with transboundary water associations also become parties. For instance, India cannot find it prudent to ratify when China votes against. Its status as the UN Convention draws attention to the codified principles of international customary law of transboundary water cooperation.

    It offers legitimate and effective practices for data sharing, negotiation and dispute resolution that could be followed in bilateral or multilateral water-sharing arrangements.

    Nile River Basin Initiative

    The Convention provides a basis for transboundary water negotiations and enables reconsideration of existing arrangements, which tend to be fragmented and asymmetrical. The Convention is based on the principles of cooperation and mutual benefit, friendship between neighbours, development that is not significantly harmful to other watercourse states, and sustainability. It will form a sound basis for good management of international watercourses.

    As the number of signatories increases and examples of good practice are set, the Convention will be further improved and provide more guidance and binding force. It may have a moderate, positive effect in that it will provide a template, or some sort of rough normative model, for effective transboundary water management. Mistrust runs so high among riparian pairings — countries sharing rivers — across South Asia that we shouldn't expect the Convention to miraculously produce agreement on transboundary river basins.

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    There's a long way to go. Many South Asian states are mired in deep cross-boundary water disputes, and they aren't ready to commit to the measures proposed by this Convention, especially as these provisions could be harmful to some states.

    For example, the Convention says states can't govern their water in ways that harm other states. This means, in effect, that an upstream state building a run of the river dam that nonetheless decreases river flows downstream, could be construed as a violation.


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    For European countries that have fewer water tensions with their neighbours, this wouldn't be a problem because they operate in a climate of trust. By contrast, mistrust between Pakistan and India and India and Bangladesh on water suggests these countries simply aren't ready for a cooperative water-sharing regime. It will affect the way South Asia deals with water issues.

    At government level, the influence of this Convention cannot be avoided when countries in South Asia come to the negotiating table. Downstream countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan will refer to it to support their arguments. And of course there will always be pressure from the international community to sign it. Ramaswamy R. The Convention is in such general terms that — under the broad principle of "equitable sharing", which no country can object to — a good deal of negotiation will be necessary in each case. Generally speaking, customary international law requires prior notification of intention to intervene in a river, plus provision of information, consultation with downstream countries, due regard for their concerns and refraining from causing harm or injury to the co-riparian.