Scale in Transboundary Water Management: Thinking inside the basin
Transboundary water management is widely advocated to be implemented at the basin level, and a growing body of basin-level institutions have been formed in transboundary waters. In practice, however, transboundary water cooperation has occurred at a range of scales. In the Syr Darya basin of Central Asia, more than 100 agreements were found to exist at a tributary-scale. Analysis of contents of these agreements revealed that they maintained a practical focus – while global law has transitioned toward broader principles. In the Shire catchment within the Zambezi basin, there appears scope for upscaling fit-for-purpose cooperation tailored to four contextual issues. Ultimately, there may be a need to complement basin scale focus with focus on scales inside the basin. Solutions to certain water issues may be effectively delimited at geographies other than the full-basin.