International Water Law Principles and Frameworks: Perspectives from the Nile River Basin

  • Ryan Stoa


With the current body of international water law limited to customary principles and nascent treaty instruments, the potential for major transboundary water resources conflict is high. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Nile River Basin. At about 6,825 km long, the Nile is the longest river in the world, sustaining the livelihoods of more than 180 million people in 11 riparian countries. And yet, the Nile River continues to flow without a binding cooperative management treaty or agreement. While the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) may soon come into force, it lacks the support and participation of two of the largest players in the region, downstream Egypt and Sudan. Meanwhile, basin countries’ interpretations of customary international water law highlight the inherent and predictable difficulties of reconciling the principles of equitable use and no significant harm. Considering the Nile River Basin’s critical importance to the economic development of basin states, the absence of a binding cooperative management agreement places the Nile River Basin at risk of conflict and continued mismanagement. This chapter analyzes the legal status of Nile River Basin water allocations through the lens of contemporary international water law, a developing body of law struggling to resolve transboundary disputes such as those found in the Nile River Basin.


Equitable use No significant harm Customary principles International water law Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Global Water for Sustainability ProgramFlorida International University College of LawMiamiUSA

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