A Model for the Distribution of Waters of International Rivers among Sharing Countries


  • Abbas Shasha Musa
  • Zeremariam Fre


Scarcity of fresh water, pressure on water resources, International river basin, Co-riparian; conflict


The Scarcity of fresh water worldwide makes the issue of sharing water a highly sensitive one.
In case of international rivers which are shared by millions of people all over the world, the problem of
sharing water becomes even more contentious as life and development are highly centered around this
important resource. The closing part of the 20th century has already witnessed the first sings of the
conflicts over waters of international rivers. Many observers believe that conflicts and wars over water
will become widespread during the 21st century. This is so because pressure on fresh water resources will
be brought to bear by rapid population increase, over-utilization of the resource, and mismanagement.
International rivers on which depend the lives of millions of people carry only a very small fraction of
liquid fresh water. Competition among states over the limited volume of river water becomes acute,
particularly in arid regions like the Middle East. In a politically unstable region such as the Middle East
the question of water shortages, resulting from unfair sharing, will be highly politicized. States which are
taking more than their share of water will create an explosive situation and increase the possibility of war
among sharing countries. So as to avoid the terrible consequences of war over the water issue, the authors
have been able to develop the proposed model for understanding that this model which is based primarily
on the Helsinki rules of 1967 will be acceptable to all sharing states, since it includes wide-ranging
physical and socio-economic factors. In a sense, the model is to be considered as a natural and fair
method for the distribution of common waters among sharing countries.