From Conflict to Collective Action

Institutional Change and Management Options to Govern Transboundary Water Courses (CollectiveWater)



  • Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Department of Law;
  • Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Department of Geography;
  • University of Haifa, Department of Economics;
  • Water & Environmental Development Organization, Bethlehem;
  • Palestinian Water Authority;
  • Technical University of Berlin, Centre for Water in Urban Areas;
  • Free University of Berlin, Environmental Policy Research Centre (ffu);
  • University of Trier, Faculty of Law.




05/2005 − 04/2007


Often political and hydrological boundaries do not match. In these cases, water managers have proposed to establish joint institutions for integrated river basin management. From a social science perspective this raises the following questions:

  1. Under which conditions do such transboundary water institutions come about?
  2. Which alternative mechanisms are conceivable and how do they compare?
  3. To what extent are institutional arrangements transferable between river basins? and
  4. What is the role of scale in transboundary river basin management?

The project will study these questions using the Elbe river basin and the Kidron Valley/Wadi Nar in the Israeli-Palestine as case studies, and drawing upon economic, legal, political science, geographic, and technical expertise. In the Elbe River Basin, the project will study the effectiveness of existing transboundary water management institutions. In the Kidron Valley, where no transboundary river basin institutions exist, the project will evaluate alternative institutional arrangements based on a cost-benefit and multi-criteria analysis of separate and collective management options, and drawing upon European experiences as appropriate. Based on its findings, the project will advise an ongoing informal Israeli-Palestinian effort to develop a Master Plan for the Kidron/Wadi Nar Basin.