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Transboundary Rivers // Sharing Benefits in Transboundary Rivers: An Experimental Case Study of Central Asian Water-Energy-Agriculture Nexus

By Shokhrukh-Mirzo Jalilov, Olli Varis and Marko Keskinen. Cooperation in transboundary river basins is challenged by the riparian countries’ differing needs for water use. This is the case especially in Amu Darya Basin in Central Asia, where upstream Tajikistan is building the Rogun Hydropower Plant (RHP) to increase its energy security, while the downstream countries oppose the plant due to the feared negative impacts to their irrigated agriculture. Several experimental scenarios illustrate how the concept of benefit sharing could be used as a framework to investigate these water-energy-agriculture linkages in a transboundary context.

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(C) Sathish J / flickr

Using a hydro-economic model, the authors investigate the economic benefits of various scenarios emphasizing agricultural and/or energy production, thus benefiting the riparian countries uniquely. Subsequently, the authors discuss how benefit-sharing arrangements with different forms of compensations could be used as a mechanism to facilitate transboundary cooperation.

The results indicate that several scenarios have a potential to increase the total energy-agriculture benefits in the basin. Yet, agreeing on the actual benefit-sharing mechanism between the countries poses special challenges as each may require countries to give up some of their anticipated maximum potential benefits.

The presented scenarios provide a potential starting point for debates over benefit-sharing arrangements across countries needing to address the water-energy-agriculture nexus.


October 2016


Water 2015, 7, 4778-4805.
This article belongs to the Special Issue Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Large Asian River Basins


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