River Basin Management Plans as a tool for sustainable transboundary river basins’ management

  • Charalampos SkoulikarisEmail author
  • Antigoni Zafirakou
Environmental management, engineering, planning and economics


Data availability and the existence of exchange mechanisms are considered crucial issues for the management of water bodies shared among riparian countries. Moreover, common legislative and technical frameworks are assets that foster the management of transboundary waters in an integrated and sustainable manner. The River Basin Management Plans of the European Union’s Water Framework Directive implementation process not only incorporate a cooperative framework, but also include open access internet-based databases that can enhance cooperation and shed light on water-related conflicts among countries that share transboundary waters. The proposed methodological approach in this research is applied in four transboundary river basins, where Greece is the downstream country, and the upstream countries are not all member states of the European Union. The areas of dispute were found in the 2nd Water Convention Report. For each particular case study, data and information from the respective River Basin Management Plans were used to investigate the actual situation. The results demonstrated that significant conflict situations in the past, which involved both water quality and water quantity issues, could be resolved using continuous and reliable datasets included in the management plans. The use of freely available data sources renders the findings of this work useful for the sustainable management of shared waters.


River Basin Management Plans Transboundary waters Sustainable management Vardar/Axios river basin Struma/Strymonas river basin Mesta/Nestos river basin Maritsa/Evros/Meriç river basin 



The sources of the background map of Figs. 1 and 4 are as follows: Esri, HERE, DeLorme, Intermap, increment P Corp., GEBCO, USGS, FAO, NPS, NRCAN, GeoBase, IGN, Kadaster NL, Ordnance Survey, Esri Japan, METI, Esri China (Hong Kong), swisstopo, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS User Community.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UNESCO Chair INWEB, University CampusAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Department of Civil Engineering, University CampusAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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