The beneficial use of the world's transboundary waters raises difficult issues for drainage basin security on most parts of the globe. International law provides that each transboundary watercourse State is entitled to, and obliged to ensure, an “equitable and reasonable use” of these shared waters. The IWLRI developed and tested a Legal Assessment Model (LAM) through the work of interdisciplinary teams working in three different transboundary situations - China (upstream), Mozambique (downstream) and Palestine (shared groundwater). The LAM provides a tool for transboundary watercourse States to use in the preparation of their national water strategy for use at the national and international levels. The model should now be tested at the basin level, with a view to assisting to accomplish the peaceful and rational use of transboundary waters in line with the governing rule of international law and thereby to facilitate the overall policy objective of drainage basin security.

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Author notes

This project was funded by the United Kingdom - Department for International Development (DFID) under its Knowledge and Research (KAR) programme. For more information see This paper on the water law aspects of the KAR project recognises the contribution of: Dr Sergei Vinogradov, Patricia Jones, Alistair Rieu-Clarke, Andrew Allan, Fadia Diabes (Palestine team leader), all IWLRI Associates, and Zhang Jiebin (China team leader) and Francisco Alvaro (Mozambique team leader) and also, with thanks to our legal external expert, Professor Dan Tarlock, Chicago-Kent University.