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Accueil du site → Master → Pays Bas → 2014 → Analysis of the hydro-political impacts of dam development in transboundary river basins : a case study of the Harirud River Basin (Central Asia)

UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft (2014)

Analysis of the hydro-political impacts of dam development in transboundary river basins : a case study of the Harirud River Basin (Central Asia)

Nagheeby, M. 

Titre : Analysis of the hydro-political impacts of dam development in transboundary river basins : a case study of the Harirud River Basin (Central Asia)

Auteur : Nagheeby, M. 

Université de soutenance : UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2014

Afghanistan as a main source of producing water in Central Asia is seeking to harness transboundary water resources by developing several hydro-infrastructure projects. However, this tendency may negatively affect the downstream neighboring countries that strongly depend on the same water. They fear that any reduction of the water flow by dam development in Afghanistan could have harmful socio-economic and geopolitical effects. The Harirud River Basin shared among Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan is exemplified in above mentioned story. Growing population and economic development alongside the geopolitical complex have led the riparian states to unilaterally develop dams without trilateral cooperation and accordinglycause disputes among the riparian states, in whichAfghanistan as upstream country is in one side, whereas Iran and Turkmenistan as downstream countries are together in another side. This dam development, as a particular way of ""water resources control"", is implemented through the political power relations among the states, influencing the hydropolitical relationships and transboundary water interactions. The objective of this study is therefore to analyzethe hydropolitical dynamics of the Harirud River Basin focusing on the assessment of the impacts of dam development on the transboundary water interactions from social, economical and political point of view. The study first used Water Evaluation And Planning (WEAP) model to quantify the impacts of dam development on water flow regime and accordingly the socio-economic system of the basin. Secondly, the study focused on the political circumstances ofthe basin and region, searching for the underlyingpolitical reasons behind dam development. This was particularly followed by analysis of political history of power relations among riparian states and discourses within the strategies of dam development. A conceptual framework was developed here to link the water flow regime to hydropolitical regime of the Harirud River Basin. Based on the research, the findings indicated that there is an asymmetric as well as interdependence socio-economic and political system among three riparian states of Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan in which water is playing a crucial role. In this regard, first, the results of the modelillustrated that the construction of Salma Dam in Afghanistan reduces the average annual flow in downstream by around 50 percent in average under the different cases. This indeed dramatically impacts on the socio-economic and ecological conditions of the downstream, creating a strong fear for Iran and Turkmenistan and threatening their human security. Second, looking at the political history of Afghanistan, it was found that water is highly politicized particularly under the condition of the [New] Great Game. Therefore, water development projects like dams are influenced to support the geopolitical objectives specifically for external superpowers rather than economic development goals. This, itself, is also recognized by downstream countries particularly Iran as a threat to their national security. The study shows that the hydropolitical system in the Harirud River Basin is characterized by competitive unilateral strategies of dam development to control the water resources within a complex and asymmetric power relation among the downstream and upstream states. Influenced by geopolitical circumstances as well as growing economic demands, the research found that Iran and Turkmenistan are struggling together to consolidate control overthe Harirud River and the status quo in their own favor, whereas Afghanistan is planning to resist the current status quo, enhancing its position in thepower relation by controlling the waters. Thus, unilateral dam development is mostly used by the riparian states to impose the power, rule the geopolitical conditions and accordingly attempt to influence the transboundary water interactions of the basin.

Sujets  : dams transboundary river basin management political aspects case studies Central Asia


Page publiée le 14 février 2020