Abstract

Addressing water access, allocation, and use becomes a complex problem when it crosses multiple boundaries: political, jurisdictional, and societal, as well as ecological, biogeochemical, and physical. This paper focuses on transboundary water management (TWM) problems among the riparians with conflicting needs and competing demands. The complexity of TWM problems arises because of interdependencies among variables, processes, actors, and institutions operating at various scales. For such situations, the traditional notion of necessary and sufficient causal conditions is not adequate to resolve TWM problems. In essence, the resolution of many TWM issues becomes contingent upon the changes that occur within the context of the problem. A key for initiating and sustaining the resolution of complex TWM issues appears to be a set of enabling conditions, not any easily identifiable and replicable causal conditions or mechanisms. Thus, before analyzing and addressing contingent and situational factors important for any TWM issues, this paper argues for a reframing of these issues and examining the role and relevance of three enabling conditions. Using the inter-provincial water conflicts for the Indus basin within Pakistan as an illustrative case, it shows why over 30 years of dialog and discourse could not create any formal water allocation agreement. Then, it discusses how the Water Apportionment Accord of 1991 created the enabling conditions to address inter-provincial water conflicts within Pakistan in an adaptive way.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
You do not currently have access to this content.