The discourse around water resources is slowly moving away from predictions of water wars and toward the potential of cooperation. In the forthcoming textbook Bridges Over Water: Understanding Transboundary Water Conflict, Negotiation and Cooperation
(World Scientific, Fall 2007), authors Ariel Dinar, Shlomi Dinar, Stephen McCaffrey, and Daene McKinney provide both theoretical and applied approaches to making cooperation a reality. Father and son team Ariel and Shlomi Dinar are apt candidates to explore this topic with their experience in both water resources and international negotiation.
A welcome addition the water oeuvre, the book explores the problems of shared water resources and potential solutions through the disciplines of economics, law, and politics, giving the reader a broad understanding of the complexities of water management. It also serves as a literature review, citing seminal papers and analyses on conflict and cooperation. But the book’s meat lies in its analysis of tools for developing cooperation around a water resource. Additionally, the case studies of transboundary water cooperation in the Mekong, Ganges, and Indus River basins, and the Aral Sea basin provide context and put a face to the economic and political processes described in the book, helping weave a holistic understanding of transboundary water decision-making.
As a graduate-level economics text, it appropriately goes into great depth on how water management decisions are made in two thorough chapters on game theory. At the same time, these chapters appear as quite a jump from the seemingly more general overview on water, conflict, and negotiation that could be appropriate for multiple audiences. Despite the book’s different technical levels, it importantly bridges the gap between theory and practice, and skillfully examines the various tools and approaches that can be used to create an environment where cooperation is attainable.