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BRIR: Basin Rights of International Rivers: global 276

Page created by
Zhijian Wang7 November 2015

Model

        We propose our basin rights model to have three parts: nature rights for the river’s ecosystem; human rights for the basin population, and water rights for each basin country. That is the basic platform for facilitating different stakeholders. Therefore, we use this formula:

                 B=N+H+W; where

                     B= Basin rights;

                     N=Nature rights of river;

                     H=Human rights of individual water needs;

                     W=Water rights for basin states.

        Then, in order to calculate N, H and W, we assume that:        

                     B=Whole discharge of the basin;

                     ∆x = Country x's contribution rate;

                     P=the amount of the basin population; then:

                     N=B10% (arid basin);

                     Or,  N=B*20% (semi-arid basin);

                     Or,  N=B*30(humid basin)

        Accordingly, human rights to water can be calculated by the following formula:

                     H=P1000 m3/cap/yr (arid basin);

                     Or, H=P*1300 m3/cap/yr (semi-arid basin);

                     Or, H=P*1700 m3/cap/yr (humid basin);

        The whole basin rights can be seen as the discharge of all of the basin water, so the whole water rights for all the basin states can be calculated as:

                     W=B-N-H(whole basin)

        But the beginning of the international river negotiation is to calculate the water rights quota for each basin state, not the whole. So, for each basin state X’s water quota we can calculate by:

                      F(X)=HX+W∆x.

        Without taking into account the seasonal differences of water requirement for each individual river, the water quota calculated using this formula could be used as an initial platform for international water negotiation. This is a highly flexible structure, as the frequency (monthly, seasonally, annually) and location of discharge measurements can be determined by the negotiating parties.

Comments

For population and and climate type, we use TFDD spatial database 2016; for basin and country discharge, we use TFDD 2009. Just FYI. 

BTW,since the data are improving and updating from time to time and not officially recognized by basin states, all the results calculated in subpages are merely aiming to test the feasibility of the basin rights approach. It cannot be used as real evidence for judging other countries’ actions.  

Although equitable and reasonable utilization has been widely consented to and accepted as a rule of international water law, the rule is still ambiguous. The term “equitable” is a common legal principle. In the context of international river law, it is expressed through reciprocity of rights and obligations of basin countries. It means that a country shares the rights to utilize the river, and at the same time, undertakes the corresponding obligation to protect the river. The term “reasonable” may be defined as a sustainable river ecosystem. It means the river, and all its inhabitants, have the rights to live. From the environmentalist perspective, it is the rights of nature. The above two points, plus the human factor, are the main factors that influence the principle of “equitable and reasonable utilization”.

To confirm the quota of water resources of each factor would be easy for negotiators to begin with. All of these three rights combined can be defined as “basin rights.” Basin rights can be quantified by using the mean available flow of an international river (or discharge) per year. It should include three parts: nature rights, which is the ecological requirement of the river; human rights to water, which is the basic water requirements of the basin population, including water for producing the food besides drinking water and household water; and country rights ---the water rights of basin countries.

Therefore, we use this formula:

B=N+H+W; where

B= Basin rights;

N=Nature rights of river;

H=Human rights of individual water needs;

W=Water rights for basin countries.

First, Nature rights (N)

To consider a river’s natural character, one must consider geographic, hydrographic, hydrological, climatic, ecological, and other factors together.In order to quantify it, we propose that the ecological water requirement is calculated by calculating the discharge in a river for its nature requirement, simultaneously; the calculation should consider the individual climatic region.

We adopted the Tennant method to quantify nature rights. The method showed that 30% of average flow or higher is considered to be in the good to optimum range for aquatic organisms, 10% of the average flow is a minimum instantaneous flow recommended to sustain short-term survival habitat for most aquatic life forms, and 20% of the average flow is recommended as a base flow to sustain fair survival conditions for the ecosystem.

Then, in order to calculate N, H and W, we assume that:

B=Whole discharge of the basin; (Basin Rights)

Then:

N=B10% (arid basin);Or, N=B*20% (semi-arid basin); Or, N=B*30(humid basin)

Second, Human rights to water (H).

The human right to water consists of the requirements of vital human needs, including water for drinking, sanitation and food production. To meet the sustainable threshold, in 1994, the FAO recommended that roughly 1,000 m3 to 1,300 m3 should be reserved for meeting the individual annual food based water requirement (FAO, 1994). Further more, using the popular accepted concept of “water scarcity”, based on per capita usage, the water conditions in an area can be categorized as: no stress (>1,700 m3), stress (1,000-1,700 m3), scarcity (500-1,000 m3), and absolute scarcity (<500 m3) (UNDP, 2006). For the majority of international river basins, we can use 1,000; 1,300; and 1,700 as the key threshold values for arid, semi-arid, and humid basins, respectively. Accordingly, human rights to water can be calculated by the following formula:

Assuming P=the amount of the basin population;

Then: H=P1000 m3/cap/yr (arid basin); Or, H=P*1300 m3/cap/yr (semi-arid basin);

Or, H=P*1700 m3/cap/yr (humid basin);

Third, Water Rights (W)

The whole basin rights can be seen as the discharge of all of the basin water, so the whole water rights for all the basin countries can be calculated as:

W=B-N-H

Finally, Water Quota for each Basin Country

But the beginning of the international river negotiation is to calculate the water rights quota for each basin country, not the whole. We assume ∆x = Country x's contribution rate. So, for each basin countries X’s water quota we can calculate by:

F(X)=Hx+W∆x

Where Hx represents each individual basin country X’s Human Rights to water within their boundary.                           The basin rights approach might provide an alternative idea and methodology for establishing a starting point for international river negotiation. The approach takes into account both history and hydrology by reserving human water rights in advance. Additionally, to put an ecological water requirement as a prerequisite for sustainable use of the whole river system as part of a basin rights system assumes the responsibility among all basin states. This consideration can help to balance the rights and obligations between nature and humankind as well as between upstream and downstream users. If the negotiation parties share several types of basic data such as discharge, runoff contribution and population, it would be very easy for them to figure out each country’s water quota and make decisions on whether building massive infrastructure in one basin state would exceed its water quota.

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