Water resources data and information exchange in transboundary water treaties

  • Andrea K. Gerlak
  • Jonathan Lautze
  • Mark Giordano
Original Paper


Despite international calls for data and information sharing in transboundary waters and basin-specific evidence of its importance to cooperative management, no systematic research has been undertaken to answer questions of where, how frequently, and which water resources data and information are exchanged. This paper examines all available transboundary water agreements signed between 1900 and 2007 to determine the degree to which water resources data and information is exchanged in the world’s regions, how the level of exchange has developed over time, and the different ways in which data and information sharing has been codified in practice. In doing so, we reveal important trends regarding the mechanisms, types, and frequencies of water resources data and information sharing—as well as differences across temporal and spatial scales, by treaty type and function, and regime type. The results indicate that data and information exchange as already practiced is more nuanced and, in some senses, widespread than may commonly be recognized. Further, the results reveal key linkages between democracy and data and information exchange and provide a basis to test analogous linkages related to data sharing and other variables in transboundary water settings.


Data Agreement Exchange Information International Law Sharing Transboundary Water 



The authors wish to thank Basman Towfique for preliminary work in the conceptualization of this document and Nishath Yapa for the management of the Treaty Database. We are also grateful to Keith Grant for his work on the statistical analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea K. Gerlak
    • 1
  • Jonathan Lautze
    • 2
  • Mark Giordano
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.International Water Management InstituteColomboSri Lanka

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