Water Resources Research Report



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Water is an important factor in conflicts among stakeholders at the local, regional, and even international level. Water conflicts have taken many forms, but they almost always arise from the fact that the freshwater resources of the world are not partitioned to match the political borders, nor are they evenly distributed in space and time. Two or more countries share the watersheds of 261 major rivers and nearly half of the land area of the wo rld is in international river basins. Water has been used as a military and political goal. Water has been a weapon of war. Water systems have been targets during the war. A role of systems approach has been investigated in this report as an approach for resolution of conflicts over water. A review of systems approach provides some basic knowledge of tools and techniques as they apply to water management and conflict resolution. Report provides a classification and description of water conflicts by addressing issues of scale, integrated water management and the role of stakeholders. Four large-scale examples are selected to illustrate the application of systems approach to water conflicts: (a) hydropower development in Canada; (b) multipurpose use of Danube river in Europe; (c) international water conflict between USA and Canada; and (d) Aral See in Asia. Water conflict resolution process involves various sources of uncertainty. One section of the report provides some examples of systems tools that can be used to address objective and subjective uncertainties with special emphasis on the utility of the fuzzy set theory. Systems analysis is known to be driven by the development of computer technology. Last section of the report provides one view of the future and systems tools that will be used for water resources management. Role of the virtual databases, computer and communication networks is investigated in the context of water conflicts and their resolution.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario


London, Ontario, Canada


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Report no.: 043

State-of-the-Art Report on Systems Analysis Methods for Resolution of Conflicts in Water Resources Management