3.4.2 Towards an interdisciplinary approach
The discussions of history and physical science have conveyed a sense of
water basin planning as an ongoing dynamic process, as water quantity, quality,
and demand factors all fluctuate over space and time. Political science also
shows the equally fluctuating political pressures that act on water policy
markers, both within each political entity and internationally. From ADR, we
have found that successful conflict resolution should be equally dynamic, with
constant feedback and iteration incorporated within the process to match the
variability of both the physical and the political systems.
Even while recognizing the fluctuations inherent to water basin analysis, we
can also recognize the need to examine each option available and its viability
at a certain point in time. To bring options and evaluations together, I begin
by listing each of the technical options presented in the section on physical
science, and adding the policy options recommended by economics. Each option can
then be evaluated for its viability, as recommended in three sections - physical
sciences, economics, and political science.
I offer three phases to the process of water conflict analysis, parallel to
ADR's prenegotiation, negotiation, and implementation (Susskind and Cruikshank
1987). Within each phase, I offer guidelines as suggested by the previous
disciplinary discussions. The justification for each phase from ADR is included
in parentheses, as are the disciplines that inform each of the guidelines.
- Preliminary watershed analysis. (Identify Actors' Initial
- Survey positions,
salience, power (political science, ADR)
(Insist on Common Criteria for
- Establish overall goals
- Choose an appropriate
- Determine future water supply and demand.
- A framework for evaluation: options
and viability. (Invent Options for Mutual Gain)
- Determine technical and policy options (physical science, economics,
- Measure technical, economic, political viability
(physical science, economics, political science).
- Implementation. (Determine Feedback Mechanism for
- "Dis-integrate" resource control to address past and present
grievances (history, law, political science)
- Examine details of initial
positions for options to induce cooperation (ADR)
- Design plan or
project, starting with small-scale implicit cooperation, and building towards
ever-increasing integration, always "leading" political relations
(political science, ADR dispute systems design).
To match the technical, economic, and political dynamics of the system, I
suggest that the process of analysis be both interactive and iterative, as
Preliminary watershed analysis
To develop a suitable strategy for a water basin under conflict, one must
determine what technical and policy tools are most appropriate, given the
specific physical and political parameters.
The first stage of a preliminary watershed analysis ought to include a brief
survey of the current hydropolitical position of each of the actors. Attitudes
and power relationships might be examined, which, in addition to future water
needs, might suggest what bargaining mix each player will bring to the table.
Power, in hydropolitical terms, may include riparian position and legal water
rights, in addition to the more traditional forms of political and military
Both defined overall goals and a reasonable planning horizon should then be
determined. For an overall goal, I suggest "providing for future water
needs while alleviating water-related political pressures." I have chosen a
30-year planning horizon, which both allows observation of long-term effects of
shortterm policy decisions and provides time for larger technical projects to be
implemented and their effects studied.
The next step is to project adequately the water needs for each entity over
the planning horizon. For this purpose, a "water stress index," as
developed by Falkenmark (1989a), is used that relies on an index of per capita
water availability (PCA). Falkenmark (1989a; 1989b) and Falkenmark et al. (1989)
describe the combined PCA for a population in a semi-arid region as follows:
- Above 10,000 m3 per person: limited management problems;
- 10,0001,600 m3 per person: general management problems;
- 1,600-1,000 m3 per person: water stress;
m3 per person: chronic scarcity;
- Less than 500 m3
per person: beyond the "water barrier" of manageable capability.
Falkenmark combines all uses - domestic, agricultural, and industrial - in
her calculations, and includes only natural sources - no additions for reclaimed
water or desalination, for example. In actuality, industrialized countries
willing to invest heavily in water technology and management might not be under
the same "stress" as another country with the same PCA. Nevertheless,
from the categories presented, it is clear that policy options are different for
countries in different categories. The concept of "drought," for
example, might mean a lack of water for survival in Ethiopia, a lack of water
for agriculture in Jordan, or a lack of delivery infrastructure in Spain. As
described in the next chapter, each of the riparians to the Jordan watershed
falls well below the "water barrier."
The next step is to calculate water supply and demand dynamically over the
planning horizon. There are dangers associated with any extrapolations over
time, which increase, the further into the future a model projects. Patten
(1976) and Bossel (1986) discuss ecosystem modelling and the hazards of
extrapolation. It is recommended, by these authors and others, that any
predictive model should incorporate any of a variety of possible scenarios and
that a range of results should be presented. In a model of water supply and
demand, these scenarios might include population variations, based on changing
birth or death rates or on immigration or emigration. Supply fluctuations from
the natural system might be included, as might gains from technical advances or
increased cooperation, or losses from global warming or the demands of a higher
standard of living. The uncertainties of resource estimates, such as aquifer
yield and surface water supplies, should also be included.
A framework for evaluation: Options and viability
TECHNICAL AND POLICY OPTIONS.
Once one knows the planning horizon and goals of a watershed plan, and has
calculated what the future water needs are likely to be, one can look to the
technical and policy options described in previous sections to determine the
most useful strategy over time. These options for overcoming shortages in a
watershed, taken from the physical sciences and from economics, are as follows:
- Population control.
- Public awareness.
- Allow price
to reflect true costs (including national water markets).
- greenhouse technology;
- genetic engineering for drought and salinity
- Waste-water reclamation.
- Increase catchment and storage
(including artificial groundwater recharge).
- Cloud seeding.
- Fossil aquifer development.
- Shared information and technology.
- International water
- Interbasin water transfers.
- Joint regional
MEASURES OF VIABILITY.
Once the technical and policy options are known, the next, and probably the
most crucial, step is to develop a method for evaluating the options against
each other; that is, to create a hierarchy of viability. As explored in previous
sections, many disciplines provide their own version of viability. Where an
engineer might ask, "Can it be done?", an economist might add,
"At what cost?", a political analyst could suggest, "Is it
politically feasible?", and anyone environmentally aware might counter,
"Should it be done at all?"
One problem with these varied standards of viability is that they often
measure at cross purposes, arriving at differing or even contradictory
conclusions. Dinar and Wolf (1991), for example, evaluate a potential transfer
of water from the Nile to the Jordan basin, in terms of both economic and
political viability. Their findings using each standard are in diametric
opposition to each other: whereas an economic analysis suggests greater payoffs
for larger coalitions of cooperating states, a political investigation shows
that the likelihood of such coalitions actually forming decreases as the size of
the coalition increases, and that the most likely action is no cooperation
What I propose here is a unified approach to overall viability that
incorporates established measures for technical (including environmental),
economic, and political viability. Technical viability measures the physical
parameters of a system or proposal: how much water might be produced; what is
the quality; how reliable is the source, and what are the likely environmental
impacts? Economic viability has one primary standard efficiency. For relative
water projects, one might use the results of a benefitcost analysis and use the
resulting net present value of benefits as a measure or, more directly, the cost
per unit water that would result from each project. An im portent economic point
is that costs are not fixed over time. A "resource depletion curve"
for any project would show at what rate the utility, or value, of a unit of
water would begin to drop and, consequently, what the most efficient rate of
development would be.
The most tenuous measure is political viability. To incorporate this
important parameter in an integrated model, one must use a relative scale for a
value that is difficult to quantify. While I recognize the general lack of
enthusiasm for quantitative political analysis for its necessarily subjective
nature (see Ascher 1989, for a good critique), I recommend the inclusion of
results of a process such as the PRINCE Political Accounting System. Coplin and
O'Leary (1976) describe the method of incorporating each player's
"position," "power," and "salience," for any of a
number of policy options, to arrive at a relative ranking of political
viability. In Coplin and O'Leary (1983) they extend the process to provide an
absolute measure of the likelihood of a policy action taking place. Appendix IV
shows how the PRINCE Political Accounting System might be applied to derive a
measure for political viability, in this case for a number of possible
coalitions for a transfer of water from the Nile to the Jordan basin (Diner and
Two other qualitative measures might be used for political viability. For
projects within a country, how well a proposal "fits" with national
goals might be evaluated. Population control, for example, which might be
successful in western Europe or the United States, runs counter to both Israeli
and Palestinian interests in numerical superiority. International projects might
be determined in terms of relative measures for "equity" of project
costs and water distribution, and "control" by each political entity
of its own major water sources.
The above measures of viability can be described in qualitative terms (+, 0,
- , for example, representing good, neutral, or poor) adequate for a preliminary
analysis. If the resources are available to perform a detailed feasibility
study, the results can be described quantitatively as well. Listed below are the
proposed measures of viability, followed by the possible quantitative standards
that might be used:
- quantity (e.g.
- quality (e.g. ppm salinity or pollutants);
- reliability of source (e.g. standard deviation of flux);
- environmental impact (e.g. detail of potential damage).
- efficiency (net present value of benefits, or cost per unit of water).
- as political probability from PRINCE model, or equity of
project cost and water distribution, and control of source by each entity.
RESULTS, ITERATION, AND INTERACTION.
Table 3.1 shows the technical and policy options listed lengthwise, and the
possible measures of viability along the top, so that any possible option can
then be evaluated with each measure of viability. By examining the results, it
should be possible to sense which options are more viable than others, and why.
It should be remembered that these results are for a particular geographic
location, and for a single point in time.
Although a column is provided for a measure of "overall viability,"
it is recommended that, if this column is used at all, it be used with great
caution. First, each measure does not necessarily have equal weight, and each
was arrived at with both some subjectivity and some uncertainty. Adding or
multiplying across would therefore only compound and accumulate error. Instead,
by leaving the measures separate, one acquires a greater sense of why options
are viable and where emphasis can be placed for the future in order to help
boost viability. Public awareness, for example, has been shown to be a very
cost-effective method of saving water, but the total amount that can be saved is
rather small in comparison to the total water budget. In contrast, unlimited
water can be made available through desalination, but at a relatively higher
cost. The latter might change with technological breakthroughs, but the former
is likely to remain fairly constant over time.
As mentioned above, each measure can be evaluated in qualitative terms, such
as +, O. - , to represent good, neutral, or poor, or quantitatively, using the
values described above. Chapter 4 includes a discussion of the options available
to the Jordan River watershed using qualitative values, and several examples of
quantitative evaluation are also presented.
It should be emphasized that this evaluation process should be iterative
repeated often to allow for the constant changes of so many of the parameters
over space and time. Changes that can affect viability include the following:
Table 3.1 Evaluation table for tools to decrease demand or increase supply
| ||Technicala ||Economicb ||Politicalc ||Overall Viability |
|DEMAND || |
control ||_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________ = ||________ |
|Public awareness ||_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________
= ||________ |
|Allow price to reflect true costs (incl. na tional water
markets) ||_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________ = ||________ |
|Efficient agriculture: || |
|Drip-irrigation ||_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________
= ||________ |
|Greenhouse technology || |
|_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________
= ||________ |
|Genetic engineering for drought and sal
inity resistance || |
|_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________
= ||________ |
|SUPPLY || || ||
|Waste-water reclamation ||_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________ = ||________ |
|Increase catchment and storage || |
|_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________
= ||________ |
| || || ||
|Cloud-seeding ||_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________
= ||________ |
|Desalination ||_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________
= ||________ |
|Fossil aquifer develop ment || |
|_/_/_/_ ||________ ||________ = ||________ |
|Cooperative Shared information and technology || |
|_/_/_/_ ||________ ||____/___ = ||________ |
|International water markets || |
|_/_/_/_ ||________ ||____/___
= ||________ |
|Interbasin transfers ||_/_/_/_
= ||________ |
|Regional planning ||_/_/_/_ ||________ ||____/___
= ||________ |
a. Quantity/quality/reliability/environmental impact.
c. National goals (or international: equity/control).
- Fluctuations in seasonal
and annual water supply, as well as long-term changes due to global warming
- Changes in water quality
- Technical breakthroughs
infrastructure for each party in:
- research and development
- storage and delivery
- Changes in understanding of physical system.
along the resource depletion curve
- Expense for water resources
- Changes in efficiency of water use.
- riparian position
(e.g. clarity of water rights)
- form and stability of government
The evaluation process should also allow for interaction, with ongoing
feedback between the disciplines, to reflect real-world influences. For example,
a project with extremely positive economic results might help overcome political
reluctance to enter into cooperation. Likewise, political constraints can
effectively cause a project, which has been judged worthwhile in terms of its
technical and economic value, to be vetoed.
Based both on the information of the preliminary watershed investigation and
on the ranking of technical and policy options from the evaluation framework
described above, a plan can be developed for the watershed in question, both to
overcome projected deficits in the water budget and, in the process, to help
alleviate water-related political pressures. Lessons from political science in
general, and from the region's history of hydropolitics specifically, can be
combined to develop a plan for increasing cooperation and integration as
political relations develop. The process techniques from ADR can help to guide
the actors through the negotiation process and allow feedback for ongoing
conflict resolution in the future.
The general steps that might be followed include the following.
DIS-INTEGRATING THE CONTROL OF WATER RESOURCES TO ADDRESS PAST AND PRESENT
The previous discussion of history, law, and political science suggests that,
because much water conflict has been over ambiguities over water rights, any
attempt at cooperative projects preceding the clarification of these rights
would be building on years of accumulated ill will. It was also mentioned, in
the section on economics, that the clear establishment of property rights is a
prerequisite for any market solution. As also discussed previously, the
political viability of international planning or projects depends on each entity
agreeing on the equity of the project (who gets how much), and on control of the
resource (from where, and who controls it). The necessary steps include (a)
negotiating property rights to existing resources, (b) guaranteeing control of a
water source adequate to meet future needs, and (c) addressing the issue of
equity within the design of any cooperative project. As these steps involve a
separation of control as a precondition to "integration," we might
refer to the process as "disintegration."
EXAMINING THE DETAILS OF INITIAL POSITIONS FOR OPTIONS TO INDUCE COOPERATION.
Each party to negotiations usually has its own interests uppermost in mind.
The initial claims, or "starting points" in the language of ADR, often
seek to maximize those interests. By closely examining the assumptions and
beliefs behind the starting points, one might be able to glean clues for
inducing some movement within the "bargaining mix" of each party.
These underlying assumptions and beliefs may also provide indications for the
creative solutions necessary to move from distributive bargaining
("win-lose") over the amount of water each entity should receive, to
integrative bargaining ("win-win") - inventing options for mutual
DESIGNING A PLAN OR PROJECT, STARTING WITH SMALL-SCALE IMPLICIT COOPERATION,
AND BUILDING TOWARDS EVERINCREASING INTEGRATION, ALWAYS "LEADING"
Building on the first two steps, the riparians of a watershed, who have clear
water rights and control of enough water for their immediate needs, might begin
to work slowly towards increasing cooperation on projects or planning. Even
hostile riparians, it has been shown, can cooperate if the scale is small and
the cooperation is secret. Building on that small-scale cooperation, and keeping
the concerns of equity and control firmly in mind, projects might be developed
to increase integration within the watershed, or even between watersheds over
The design of a plan or project can incorporate a feedback loop to allow for
greater cooperation as political relations develop, encouraging the project
always to remain on the cutting edge of political relations. A process for
ongoing conflict resolution would also help to relieve tensions that might arise
owing to fluctuations in the natural system.
The "cooperation-inducing design" process described in this section
can be applied to water rights negotiations, to watershed planning, or to
cooperative projects for watershed development, as described in chapter