Water Diplomacy in Action

Water Diplomacy in Action

Contingent Approaches to Managing Complex Water Problems

Edited by Shafiqul Islam & Kaveh Madani

Science Diplomacy: Managing Food, Energy and Water Sustainably

Anthem Environment and Sustainability Initiative

Rooted in the ideas of complexity science and mutual gains negotiation, this volume shows why traditional systems engineering approaches will not work for complex water problems and what emerging tools and techniques are needed to resolve them. This collection successfully synthesizes insights from theory and practice to advocate for contingent and adaptive management using a water diplomacy framework. 

EPUB, 344 Pages


January 2017

£22.31, $36.84

PDF, 344 Pages


January 2017

£22.31, $36.84

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links
  • Podcasts

About This Book

Today we face an incredibly complex array of interconnected water issues that cross multiple boundaries: Is water a property or a human right? How do we prioritize between economic utility and environmental sustainability? Do fish have more rights to water than irrigated grain? Can we reconcile competing cultural and religious values associated with water? How much water do people actually need? These questions share two key defining characteristics: (a) competing values, interests and information to frame the problem; and (b) differing views - of how to resolve a problem - are related more to uncertainty and ambiguity of perception than accuracy of scientific information.

These problems - known as complex problems - are ill-defined, ambiguous, and often associated with strong moral, political and professional values and issues. For complex water problems, certainty of solutions and degree of consensus varies widely. In fact, there is often little consensus about what the problem is, let alone how to resolve it. Furthermore, complex problems are constantly changing because of interactions among the natural, societal and political forces involved. The nature of complexity is contingent on a variety of contextual characteristics of the interactions among variables, processes, actors, and institutions. Understanding interactions and feedback loops between and within human and natural systems is critical for managing complex water problems. [NP] This edited volume synthesizes insights from theory and practice to address complex water problems through contingent and adaptive management using water diplomacy framework (WDF). This emerging framework diagnoses water problems, identifies intervention points, and proposes sustainable solutions that are sensitive to diverse viewpoints and uncertainty as well as changing and competing needs. The WDF actively seeks value-creation opportunities by blending science, policy, and politics through a contingent negotiated approach.


“This volume amplifies the fact that water is an interdisciplinary resource and analyzes the complex array of interconnected water issues that cross multiple boundaries. It diagnoses water problems, identifies intervention points and proposes some sustainable solutions that blend science, law, policy and politics. It is a major contribution to the field of water diplomacy.”
Salman M. A. Salman, former World Bank Adviser on Water Law and Editor-in-Chief, International Water Law

“Opening up avenues for nonviolent resolution of water-related disputes and conflicts, this book shows how diverse knowledge bases can be used for putting that very useful goal in real-world actions.”
Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, Visiting Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, India 

“Water Diplomacy in Action provides a comprehensive view on complex water problems, integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches and combining these with real-life case studies.”
Erik Mostert, Assistant Professor, Department of Water Management, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands 

“The book is an excellent contribution to the literature on how formal and informal institutions and engagement of stakeholders continue being the best ways to address the complexity of water resources.”
Cecilia Tortajada, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore 

Author Information

Shafiqul Islam is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and professor of water diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He is the director of the Water Diplomacy Program and the 2016 recipient of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Water Prize for Creativity.

Kaveh Madani is a reader in systems analysis and policy at the Centre for Environmental Policy of the Imperial College London. He is one of the four recipients of the Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists in 2016 for his fundamental contributions to integrating game-theory and decision-analysis into water management models.


Science Diplomacy: Managing Food, Energy and Water Sustainably

Anthem Environment and Sustainability Initiative

Table of Contents

List of Figures; List of Tables; The Blind Men, the Elephant and the Well: A Parable for Complexity and Contingency - Maimuna Majumder; Preface; Part I. Roots and Causes of Complexiety and Contingency in Water Problems; Chapter One Complexity and Contingency: Understanding and Managing Complex Water Problems - Shafiqul Islam; Chapter Two Leveraging Diplomacy for Resolving Transboundary Water Problems - Benjamin Pohl and Ashok Swain; Part II. Tools, Techniques, Models and Analyses to Resolve Complex Water Problems; Chapter Three Ten Bankruptcy Methods for Resolving Natural Resource Allocation Conflicts - Mahboubeh Zarezadeh, Ali Mirchi, Laura Read and Kaveh Madani; Chapter Four Flexible Design of Water Infrastructure Systems - Melanie Wong Turlington, Richard de Neufville and Margaret Garcia; Chapter Five Extreme Value Analysis for Modeling Nonstationary Hydrologic - ChangeArpita Mondal and P. P. Mujumdar; Chapter Six The Water– Food Nexus and Virtual Water Trade - Joel A. Carr and Paolo D’Odorico; Chapter Seven A Hybrid Analytical Approach for Modeling the Dynamics of Interactions for Complex Water Problems - Yosif Ibrahim and Shafiqul Islam; Chapter Eight A Call for Capacity Development for Improved Water Diplomacy - Dena Marshall, Léna Salamé and Aaron T. Wolf; Chapter Nine Water Complexity and Physics- Guided Data Mining - Udit Bhatia, Devashish Kumar, Evan Kodra and Auroop R. Ganguly; Part III. Case Studies; Chapter Ten The Nature of Enabling Conditions of Transboundary Water Management: Learning from the Negotiation of the Indus and Jordan Basin Treaties - Enamul Choudhury; Chapter Eleven Mediation in the Israeli– Palestinian Water Conflict: A Practitioner’s View - Patrick Huntjens; Chapter Twelve Risk Distribution and the Adoption of Flexibility: Desalination Expansion in Qatar - Abdulla AlMisnad, Richard de Neufville and Margaret Garcia; Chapter Thirteen The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: Conflict and Water Diplomacy in the Nile Basin - Ronny Berndtsson, Kaveh Madani, Karin Aggestam and Dan- Erik Andersson; Chapter Fourteen Engaging Stakeholders for Water Diplomacy: Lessons for Integrated Water Resources Management - Bhadranie Thoradeniya and Basant Maheshwari; Chapter Fifteen Strategic Insights for California’s Delta Conflict - Mohammad R. Moazezi, Kaveh Madani and Keith W. Hipel; Notes on Contributors; Index.


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