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Implementing the Principle of Equitable and Reasonable Utilization in the Nile Basin

  • Philine Wehling
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Abstract

International water law requires transboundary watercourses to be utilized in an equitable and reasonable manner, yet to date this principle has seen little concretization. This chapter addresses the principle’s implementation along the Nile, focusing on the process involved to implement the principle in practice, and on the factors to consider when determining what constitutes equitable and reasonable use of Nile water in each riparian state. It considers the legal content of relevant factors and circumstances, reviews the respective country data from each riparian state’s perspective, and debates their importance in relation to the Nile. On this basis, the chapter discusses considerations for the weighing and overall assessment of those factors and circumstances. This illustrates the extent to which the principle can provide a conceptual framework for regulating water use: The principle’s application can generally indicate the weight that the relevant factors and circumstances carry along a particular watercourse for the purposes of determining equitable and reasonable use and eventually allocating water uses, as well as their relevance for each riparian state; it does not enable the allocation of either specific amounts of water or specific uses. The discussion also shows that attaining an optimal utilization at a basin-wide scale requires the taking into account of both the manner of use and the potential benefits, in different parts of the basin area. Ultimately, therefore, riparian states must further define their equitable-use regime through negotiations. The principle of equitable utilization functions primarily as structured guidance for such negotiations.

Keywords

Equitable and reasonable utilization Use allocation Social and economic needs Existing and potential uses Availability of alternatives Water diversion Planned uses Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Virtual water Jonglei Canal Weighing of factors and circumstances Balancing of factors 

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philine Wehling
    • 1
  1. 1.International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT)RomeItaly

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