International Annual UN-Water Zaragoza Conference 2012/2013
Preparing for the 2013 International Year. Water Cooperation: Making it Happen! 8-10 January 2013

Cases on water cooperation

This section summarizes some cases discussed at the Conference as an example of successful water cooperation.

  • Agreement between Russia and Finland on the utilization of the frontier waters
    The cooperation betweenFinland and Russiais based on the1964 Agreement for all rivers (Finnish Russian Agreement on the utilization of transboundary watercourses). The 1964 agreement has many basic principles which the Helsinki convention contains now and have been implemented. It includes regulations on: Water flow and structural measures; Floods and water scarcity; Timber floating and navigation; Fisheries and fish migration; Pollution and water quality; Frontier guard issues (related to water); public health and economic considerations.
  • Connecting impoverished women with micro irrigation markets in Guatemala
    The goal of the “Scaling-up Micro-Irrigation Systems” project in Guatemala (SCAMPIS) is to assist families in producing their own food (and selling surpluses) by making an efficient use of water and other resources that are available in the communities. The project is being implemented by Funcafé and IFAD.
  • Cooperation between irrigators´ associations in the watershed of Altiplano-Valles in Bolivia
    The irrigation project of Tiraque-Punata is located in the mountain area of Cochabamba in Bolivia. It is a project designed to be self-managed by the users. The basin of the Tiraque-Punata is an example of the importance of traditional uses and habits of the common use of water sources mediated by reciprocal relations among local communities and irrigation committees, dispute and negotiation practices in water management, the joint search of solutions for the improvement of infrastructures and the permanent search of agreement among organizations for its management.
  • Green Water Credits
    GWC is a financial mechanism that supports upstream farmers to invest in improved green water management practices. To achieve this, a GWC fund needs to be created by downstream private and public water-use beneficiaries. Initially, public funds may be required to bridge the gap between investments upstream and the realisation of the benefits downstream.
  • Irrawaddi river in Myanmar
    Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddi) River is an important lifeline for Myanmar. The 2170 km river stretch is home to different ethnic groups of which many live in poverty and lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation services The river has high hydro-electrical potential and industrial use of water is growing. At the same time, a large portion of the Myanmar rural population depends on the river to sustain their livelihood. The Myanmar national development strategy concentrates on poverty reduction and rural development.
  • Lake Turkana: Ethiopia and Kenya
    In the Africa region, water cooperation in cases such as the Lake Turkana between Ethiopia and Kenya, conflict does not always mean armed conflict, but conflict of interests. There has been climate change and drought impact. It is difficult for the 2 countries to deal with it. There are some new emerging issues happening in the countries: potential for oil, and it is difficult to deal with the rush coming to the area.
  • Mount Kenya East Pilot Project for Natural Resource Management, Kenya
    Mount Kenya is one of the five water towers in Kenya whose water yield contributes close to 49% of the flow of Tana River (the biggest river in Kenya). The river supports close to 50% of the hydropower generated in Kenya; irrigated agriculture; fisheries; livestock production and biodiversity conservation in the lower Tana basin and is thus strategic to Kenya's economic development. These functions were increasingly threatened by environmental degradation in the upper and middle catchment of the river.
  • Peru: CLAR and “concursos” in water management
    This case describes the use of local funds allocation committees (CLAR) and “concursos” in water management.
  • Reconciling water security and historical injustice at Lake Victoria in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin
    This case study examines the successful resolution of an eight year conflict between water management agencies (and the various stakeholders that benefit from water extractions) and Aboriginal or Indigenous people in the region of Lake Victoria, one of the major storages in the southern section of the Murray Darling Basin.
  • (The) Sava River Commission
    The Sava river basin, a major drainage basin of the South-Eastern Europe, and the Sava river, the richest-in-water Danube tributary, are widely known for its high environmental and socio-economic values, so that a well-balanced approach is necessary to use the potential and preserve the existing values simultaneously.
  • Scaling-up Micro-Irrigation Systems in Madagascar
    Madagascar is a dominantly rural population (70%) and a high-potential agricultural country that knows a situation of poverty and extreme food insecurity, due to a lack of policies frameworks for the agricultural sector. This rural poverty may be amplified by the chronic decrease of water reserve, which is further aggravated by the models of water use practiced by the most of farmers (manual watering, crop flooding and irrigation line).
  • (The) Senegal River
    With a length of 1,800 km, the Senegal River crosses Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. The river basin extends over 337, 500 km² and has a population of around 3,500,000 inhabitants (16% of the total populations of these states). The Senegal River has a long history of water cooperation among the basin states (dating back to the colonial times) and some 13 international agreements have been signed. A milestone in this history was the creation in 1972 of the Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Sénégal(OMVS) when the basin countries were experiencing the worst drought in decades.
  • (The) Spanish-Portuguese Albufeira Convention
    Spain and Portugal share five main river basins. Three of these (Duero/Douro, Tajo/Tejo, and Guadiana) are also some of the largest basins in the Iberian Peninsula. In general, Spanish territory is upstream and around 70% of the annual water resources of these rivers is generated in Spain. The total area of these five basins represents 45% of the surface area of the Iberian Peninsula, and nearly 64% of Portuguese territory. Extreme variations in rainfall – from season to season and year to year - exacerbate scarcity in water flows, particularly in the drier south. Irrigation, a highly consumptive use, is the main source of demand in both States.
  • Tisza River Basin Cooperation
    The Tisza River Basin shared by 5 countries is the largest sub-basin in the Danube River Basin, covering 157,186 km² or 19.5% of the Danube Basin. Together with its tributaries, the Tisza River drains the largest catchment area in the Carpathian Mountains before flowing through the Great Hungarian Plain and joining the Danube River.
  • Transboundary cooperation between Mexico and the United States
    This case highlights the joint efforts of the governments of Mexico and the United States to solve transboundary water and sanitation problems. The border between Mexico and the US is about 3,100 kilometers long and stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. The Mexican border area (stretching from the US-Mexico border to 100 km land inwards) is home to approximately 23.8 million inhabitants (5% of the total Mexican population) and hosts some of Mexico’s most important cities.
  • Water cooperation between Jordan and Israel
    Israel and Jordan had basic coordination of some of their actions pertaining to the Jordan Basin since the 50s. In the so called ‘Picnic Table Talks’ the parties met and discussed issues of common concern. This formed an ‘umbrella’ for discussions on water coordination -in spite of the absence of a peace agreement- in which the role of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) was important.