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