Transboundary water resources management

Transboundary water resources management

Political will, again
12 March 2014

The Ebro Hydrologic Plan 2010-2015 has recently been approved. Yes, a plan that should had been approved in the dates specified, but done in 2014. This makes arise concerns, again, about the water flow and discharge in the Ebro river, remembering the big controversy that caused the speculation about making a transfer from this river. Water is a scarce and unique commodity, and source of economic power. And I ask myself why it is not possible to reach a solution for the management of water inside our country.

At an international level, there are 263 transboundary river basins that cross the political boundaries of two or more countries (1). From them, 157 (60%) have a treaty about its management, the ones left do not have. That throws light on the political will and concern about the importance of this commodity, and the need to reach an agreement so that all of us can enjoy it. Among the most important cases we can highlight the Treaty of the Rhine River (between five different countries and the European Union), the Danube River Treaty (between sixteen different countries and the European Union), the Nile River Treaty (between five countries), the Mekong River Treaty (four countries), etc…

It seems impossible to believe that an agreement has been reached about the management in river basins amongst dozens of countries, including some with political and religious discrepancies since decades (like Jordan and Israel), and also treaties that have not been broken even though there have been wars between the countries who signed it (Indo Permanent Commission and Mekong Committee) and it has not been possible to reach an agreement with the Ebro river. Even, thinking about the option of obtaining water from the Rhone river, located in France, making the transfer of water much more expensive and will mean a political and economic ridiculous situation.

Newly, political will and some populist movements may be behind the lack of agreement for drought not to reach any of our citizens. It has to be reminded that hydroelectric plants in the river provide 50% of the electricity in Spain (2), and nobody wants that this situation may be affected, right?

(1) UNDESA
(2) Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro

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