Emerging Challenges to Transboundary Water Governance

  • Gábor BaranyaiEmail author
Part of the Water Governance - Concepts, Methods, and Practice book series (WGCMP)


The stability of co-riparian relations is strongly influenced not only by historically prevailing hydrological conditions, but also by changes in the availability and quality of water in the basin. As the global water crisis unfolds, basin states face growing water insecurity with potentially significant repercussions on their general political relations. Such uncertainty gives rise to interstate tensions that may render the transboundary management of water resources extremely complicated even in regions hitherto characterised by exemplary cooperation. Yet, none of the hydrological or ensuing political challenges leads to conflict automatically. Instead, the likelihood of conflict arises where the pace and the magnitude of change exceeds the institutional capacity of the governance regime of the shared basin to absorb such changes. Empirical studies show that this condition—hydropolitical resilience—is, to a large extent, a function of a number of legal and organisational building blocks. Therefore, the probability of transboundary water conflicts can be projected with a degree of certainty on the basis of a set of formal indicators. These indicators show that most regions of the world face significant hydropolitical vulnerabilities that, in a number of hot-spot basins, may turn into serious water conflict in the decades to come.


Water crisis Water security Hydropolitical resilience and vulnerability 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Water ScienceUniversity of Public ServiceBudapestHungary

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