Shared River Basin Database

Led by Taylor Owen

Jan 2003 – Jan 2010

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Countries that share rivers have a higher risk of initiating international militarized disputes, over and above being neighbors.

This hypothesis has been investigated in a PRIO project, with the major publications so far being Toset, Gleditsch & Hegre (2000), Furlong, Gleditsch & Hegre (2006), and Gleditsch, Furlong, Hegre, Lacina & Owen (2006).The first two publications relied on a database on shared rivers between contiguous countries, developed by Hans Petter Wollebæk Toset and a database on boundary length developed by Kathryn Furlong and described in Furlong & Gleditsch (2003).

This project has now developed a new international rivers data base that allows us to distinguish better between upstream/downstream and border-demarking riparian relation. This allows us to create a new and improved dataset on shared rivers, which also adds characteristics of the basin to the dataset. The dataset also includes two new measures of water scarcity. Shifting to the basin as the unit of analysis makes this research more directly comparable with other research projects on conflict and cooperation in shared water resources.

The shared river basins database was developed by Taylor Owen in collaboration with Kathryn Furlong and Nils Petter Gleditsch. As our base geographical unit, we use the ‘Digitized inventory of current and historical international river basins’ (Wolf et al., 1999) built from the International River Basins of the World project. We thank Aaron Wolf for kindly providing the river basin GIS.

Gleditsch et al. (2006) is the first publication using the new dataset. Below follow links to the ms. and to the data replication file for the article. There is also a link to the complete rivers basin database and a codebook for the database. The data base is organized by river sharing dyads falling within a transnational river basin and includes the following variables:

  • Upstream State
  • Size of basin in upstream sate
  • Share of Basin in Upstream State
  • Number of Rivers Crossings
  • Number of Rivers Crossings
  • Length of river boundaries
  • Total Length of River Boundary
  • Total boundary length
  • Share of Boundary as River

as well as the data used to compile these new measures. We also include links to other relevant CSCW data projects and to other river conflict research.


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