The Distribution and Flow of Foreign Aid to Water Cooperation Projects in International Basins.

TitleThe Distribution and Flow of Foreign Aid to Water Cooperation Projects in International Basins.
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsParks, Nella M.
Academic DepartmentEnvironmental Science
Thesis AdvisorWolf, Aaron
DegreeHonors Baccalaureate of Arts in Environmental Science in International Studies
Number of Pages61
Date Published06/2007
UniversityOregon State University
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
Keywordsbias, foreign aid, water cooperation, water wars

In the last decade there has been increasing attention paid to the prediction that the wars of the future will be fought over water due to an increase and demand and scarcity. Many studies have shown that this 'water wars rationale' is unfounded, largely because of the history and current trends in international basins toward cooperative rather than conflictive relations over shared water resources. This study investigated one factor that affects the incidence of cooperative relations in international basins, international water cooperation projects (IWCPs), whose principal goal is to increase cooperative relationships.
IWCPs in Asia and Europe that receive foreign, or non-basin, aid are specifically investigated in order to characterize the factors that affect the distribution and flow of foreign support to these projects. The relationship between the number of IWCPs per basin and basin oil and hydroelectric resources was specifically researched, along with four other variables: population, surface water runoff and discharge, and basin size.
Quantitative and qualitative results indicate that basins with foreign funding for
IWCPs are larger with higher populations and more dams, on average, but no relationship was found between crude oil exports and foreign aid for IWCPs. Linear regression models did not show significant one to one relationships between the number of IWCPs per basin and the basin variables however, the complex nature of the decision-making process of donors may explain the results. Additionally, another study (Wolf et al. 2003) using similar data to find indicators of water conflict risk found similar results in the linear regressions.
Qualitative analysis also indicates western donors more often supported IWCPs near to the western world whereas international agencies supported projects in basins both near and distant from the western world.
These donor biases should be addressed by donor and recipient basins as well as ethical, sovereignty, and efficacy questions that arise with the involvement of non-basin countries and agencies in projects to create local cooperation.