1.0 Water Cooperation
2.1 What is Water Cooperation?
Every action involving water management requires effective cooperation between multiple actors whether at the local or international scale. Building a village water pump in sub-Saharan Africa requires local actors to cooperate. Bringing water from a river to irrigate farmland requires regional cooperation.
Rivers cross political boundaries and international cooperation is necessary to share the water resources of a transboundary river basin between upstream and downstream users with different and sometimes conflicting needs, claims and cultures. Countries also need to cooperate on the sharing of transboundary groundwater, an important and increasing source of freshwater. In all, there are 276 international basins. These cover around 46% of the Earth’s land surface, host about 40% of the world’s population in 148 nations and account for approximately 60% of global river flow.
If any of the people involved in water management do not cooperate, the ‘cooperation chain’ is broken and water resources will not be managed in the most effective way, with adverse effects on human lives and the economy. When water resources are cooperatively shared and managed, peace, prosperity and sustainable development are more likely to be achieved.
Water cooperation builds peace
Access to water can be a source of conflict, but it is also a catalyst for cooperation and peace building. Cooperation on such a practical and vital issue as water management and drinking water supply and sanitation services can help overcome cultural, political and social tensions, and can also build trust and social peace between different groups, genders, communities, regions or states.
Water cooperation is the key to socioeconomic development, poverty eradication, social equity, gender equality and environmental sustainability
Universal access to efficient drinking water supply and sanitation services is the foundation.