Abstract. While conflict-and-cooperation phenomena in transboundary basins have been widely studied, much less work has been devoted to representing the process interactions in a quantitative way. This paper identifies the main factors in the riparian countries' willingness to cooperate in the Eastern Nile River basin, involving Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt, from 1983 to 2016. We propose a quantitative model of the willingness to cooperate at the national and river basin scales. Our results suggest that relative political stability and foreign direct investment can explain Ethiopia's decreasing willingness to cooperate between 2009 and 2016. Further, we show that the 2008 food crisis may account for Sudan recovering its willingness to cooperate with Ethiopia. Long-term lack of trust among the riparian countries may have reduced basin-wide cooperation. While the proposed model has some limitations regarding model assumptions and parameters, it does provide a quantitative representation of the evolution of cooperation pathways among the riparian countries, which can be used to explore the effects of changes in future dam operation and other management decisions on the emergence of conflict and cooperation in the basin.
A socio-hydrological framework for understanding conflict and cooperation with respect to transboundary rivers
David J. Yu,
Felipe Augusto Arguello Souza,
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Volume 26, Issue 8
Abstract. Increasing hydrological variability, accelerating population growth and urbanisation, and the resurgence of water resources development projects have all indicated increasing tension among the riparian countries of transboundary rivers. While a wide range of disciplines develop their understandings of conflict and cooperation in transboundary river basins, few process-based interdisciplinary approaches are available for investigating the mechanism of conflict and cooperation. This article aims to develop a meta-theoretical socio-hydrological framework that brings the slow and less visible societal processes into existing hydrological–economic models and enables observations of the change in the cooperation process and the societal processes underlying this change, thereby contributing to revealing the mechanism that drives conflict and cooperation. This framework can act as a “middle ground”, providing a system of constituent disciplinary theories and models for developing formal models according to a specific problem or system under investigation. Its potential applicability is demonstrated in the Nile, Lancang–Mekong, and Columbia rivers.
The farmers in the Bow River Basin (BRB), Canada, have adopted water conservation strategies to reduce water needs. This reduction, however, encouraged irrigation expansion, which may rebound agric...
• Time-varying GSA offers a good understanding of the coupled human-natural systems. • Economy is the most influential factor in the rebound phenomenon of the BRB. • Social interaction had a high total-effect on the rebound phenomenon of the BRB. • Raising farmers’ awareness by formal channels could avoid the rebound phenomenon. • Switching to crops needing less water could prevent the rebound phenomenon. Modernizing traditional irrigation systems has long been recognized as a means to reduce water losses. However, empirical evidence shows that this practice may not necessarily reduce water use in the long run; in fact, in many cases, the converse is true—a concept known as the rebound phenomenon. This phenomenon is at the heart of a fundamental research gap in the explicit evaluation of co-evolutionary dynamics and interactions among socio-economic and hydrologic factors in agricultural systems. This gap calls for the application of systems-based methods to evaluate such dynamics. To address this gap, we use a previously developed Agent-Based Agricultural Water Demand (ABAD) model, applied to the Bow River Basin (BRB) in Canada. We perform a time-varying variance-based global sensitivity analysis (GSA) on the ABAD model to examine the individual effect of factors, as well as their joint effect, that may give rise to the rebound phenomenon in the BRB. Our results show that economic factors dominantly control possible rebounds. Although social interaction among farmers is found to be less influential than the irrigation expansion factor, its interaction effect with other factors becomes more important, indicating the highly interactive nature of the underlying socio-hydrological system. Based on the insights gained via GSA, we discuss several strategies, including community participation and water restrictions, that can be adopted to avoid the rebound phenomenon in irrigation systems. This study demonstrates that a time-varying variance-based GSA can provide a better understanding of the co-evolutionary dynamics of the socio-hydrological systems and can pave the way for better management of water resources.