Alternative Institutional Arrangements: Managing Transboundary Water Resources in South Asia

This paper discusses instances of water sharing and why these have become so contentious between and within the countries of the region, focusing in particular on the Indus basin, as well as the role of existing institutions for managing these transboundary water resources and analyzes proposals for alternative institutional arrangements.


The paper states that while much has been written about relations between the governments of the region and the various water-sharing treaties that have been enacted at different points in time, there has been little analysis devoted to alternative institutional arrangements that might enhance the effectiveness of regional cooperation. While the ongoing political fragmentation of the Indian subcontinent presents significant obstacles to the formation of such institutions, this article argues that a new, transparent regionalism will contribute to a more just and equitable distribution of these water resources.


The paper concludes with a discussion of the need to enhance the role of civil society networks in such future institutions, as well as an examination of the prospects for such changes occurring in South Asia.

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