Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of "transboundary waters" and why are they important?
The term "transboundary waters" refers to sources of freshwater that are shared among multiple user groups, with diverse values and different needs associated with water use. In this way, water crosses boundaries - be they those of economic sectors, legal jurisdictions, or political interests. From sets of individual irrigators and environmental advocates, to urban versus rural uses, to nations that straddle international waterways, essentially, all freshwater is transboundary water, and is important to society at local, national, regional, and international scales. Transboundary waters share certain characteristics that make their management especially complicated, most notable of which is that these basins require a more-complete understanding of the political, cultural, and social aspects of water, and that integrated management is dependent on extremely intricate awareness of the decision-making process.

What is the relationship between transboundary water resources, conflict, and cooperation?
Everything society does, from its economy to its culture, depends in part on safe, stable access to water resources. Worldwide, freshwater ecosystems are severely stressed due to population growth, land degradation, and rapid urbanization. These ecological pressures can exacerbate social and political tensions when diverse interests compete for a shared water source. Competition for water resources can create tension and conflict, but more often serve as a platform for cooperation and communication.
The benefits of cooperative frameworks for managing shared water resources can be realized at multiple scales, from local watersheds, to larger catchments shared among rural, municipal and industrial users within a single nation. Mechanisms such as cooperative planning and joint dispute resolution can build relationships that extend beyond competition between environmental or economic uses. With emphasis on the cooperative aspects of transboundary waters, riparian actors in shared basins will seek to allocate the multiple benefits among multiple parties.

What is the Universities Partnership for Transboundary Waters?
The Universities Partnership for Transboundary Waters is an international consortium of water expertise including ten universities on five continents, seeking to promote a global water governance culture that incorporates peace, environmental protection, and human security.
Each of the five continents represented in the Partnership include two universities, each with existing strong water resources programs – one with a technical focus and one with a policy orientation. Participating institutions include the University of Zimbabwe, the University of Pretoria, the Asian Institute of Technology, Yunnan University, Linköping University, the University of Dundee, Universidad Nacional de Litoral de Argentina, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Oregon State University, and the University of New Mexico. Please see our About Us page for more information on Partnership Universities.

Who are the Target Beneficiaries of Partnership’s programs?
Target beneficiaries of the programs are those who deal with the science and / or policy of transboundary waters, and for whom additional education and training would supplement existing expertise. These include: post-graduates and academics; practitioners from local, regional, and national agencies, non-governmental organizations; policy-makers, diplomats, security and military professionals, private sector representatives; and the general public.

What services are provided by the Universities Partnership for Transboundary Waters?
The Partnership provides innovative services for current and future transboundary water professionals to enhance cooperation among stakeholders in countries sharing surface and/or groundwater resources. Partnership services are designed and implemented within three focus area programs; Education & Training; Outreach & Information Resources; and Coordinated Applied Research.
Please see our program pages for more information about Partnership services.

Who do I contact for more information?
Contact our program development coordinator, Lynette de Silva, or any of the Partnership’s core member faculty. Please see our Contact page for more information.

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