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Towards a better understanding of water quality management in international river basins Public Deposited

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  • A healthy river ecosystem is the definitive mark of success in international water quality planning and management, but until the world's international river basins achieve this kind of success, there must be other means to assess progress. In this paper, a theoretical background establishes the complexities inherent in water quality management, specifically the myriad of factors that influence perceptions of sovereignty and equity in international basins. By linking the physical and political realities of water quality management, two questions can be explored: 1. "How can progress in international water quality management, as presented in treaties, be assessed?" and 2. "What factors influence treaty creation and content?" I examine water quality treaties using a framework for general treaty evolution and models for domestic water resource planning and management. The application of different frameworks suggests greater understanding of progress could be achieved by adapting the models to the particulars of international water quality management. In addition, I consider factors that influence the creation and content of treaties with water quality provisions, thereby proffering a framework of incentive and capacity for identifying opportunities and constraints to meaningful international cooperation. Improved consideration of the sovereignty, equity, incentive, and capacity challenges in managing international river basins is critical to encouraging more substantive water quality treaties, therefore protecting and enhancing water quality.
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