Choundhury, Enamul & Shafiquul Islam, eds. (2018) Complexity of Transboundary Water Conflicts: Enabling Conditions for Negotiating Contingent Resolutions. London: Anthem. 268 pp.

​ISBN: 978-1-78308-869-0

Ariel Dinar

University of California, Riverside

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​Swayed by the ever-increasing complexity of transboundary water conflicts and the attention placed on their possible resolution, this book suggests a new and different approach. Using Complexity Theory as the basis for understanding Transboundary Water Management (TWM) conflicts, the book argues that no single theory of TWM can explain the conflicts in different transboundary basins. Rather, local and specific conditions in each basin – the necessary, the sufficient, and most important, the enabling conditions – interact during the dynamic process of resolving transboundary conflicts. The book has three parts. Part I, the theoretical framework, includes the complexity, contingency and adaptive ability roles in transboundary basins, all of which are building blocks of Complexity Theory. Aspects of the enabling conditions that provide the basis for addressing conflicts and their resolution, are explained. And finally, three specific enabling conditions (recognizing interdependences, identifying mutual interests, and developing mechanisms to address problems) demonstrate how they resolved water-related conflicts in two disputed transboundary basins – Indus and Jordan. Part II includes chapters dealing with hot-spot transboundary case studies: Danube, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Blue Nile, and Colorado, all highlighting the complexity of the basin issues such as number of riparian states, culture, religion, and economic and political power. Part III reflects on the interaction between complexity, contingency, and enabling conditions under different settings, in different basins. Analyses include roles of particular components of the enabling conditions (shared vision, third parties’ involvement, power asymmetry, and intra- and inter-transboundary water law) on cooperation. An epilogue summarizes the use of complexity of the basin interactions and the enabling conditions as a framework for analysis of TWM.