The reliance on aquifers which are shared by more than one country is increasing. Yet, shared aquifers are only rarely addressed in international treaties, despite the wide recognition of the desirability of comprehensive coordinated management. In order to identify the impediments to reaching agreements on the management of shared aquifers, and the factors that may assist in overcoming these impediments, the political economy of transboundary groundwater exploitation is outlined, and the Israeli-Palestinian case examined. It is argued that the main impediment to the conclusion of international agreements on groundwater is the array of domestic power structures, and particularly the power of small cohesive interest groups. The analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian 1995 interim agreement, and the negotiations leading to it, suggest that this impediment can be overcome, if the domestic interests are recognized in advance, and addressed in the agreement. It also shows that high level politics can play a positive role in forcing water negotiators to conclude an agreement.
- Israeli-Palestinian Mountain aquifer
- Political economy
- Transboundary aquifers