Dams on shared rivers: The concept of benefit sharing

Waltina Scheumann*, Ines Dombrowsky, Oliver Hensengerth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, the concept of benefit sharing has been proposed as a means of fostering the cooperative use of international rivers. Most of the relevant literature focuses on opportunities for the generation of net benefits from cooperation; however, little attention has so far been paid to specific mechanisms for benefit sharing applied to the specific case of dams on international rivers. This paper fills this gap and asks both what incentives can be offered to encourage benefit sharing and what benefit-sharing mechanisms can be identified. Based on a conceptual approach, dam projects on the rivers Senegal, Columbia, Orange-Senqu, Nile and Zambezi are reviewed in order to explore the benefit-sharing mechanisms used at international levels. The paper also finds that negative environmental impacts are largely neglected, while social costs are not fully accounted for. The paper advocates for linking interstate with domestic benefit-sharing mechanisms which might be the ultimate step towards a socially inclusive, sustainable dam development.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Global Water System in the Anthropocene
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges for Science and Governance
EditorsAnik Bhaduri, Janos Bogardi, Jan Leentvaar, Sina Marx
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319075488
ISBN (Print)9783319075471, 9783319377360
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2014

Publication series

NameSpringer Water
ISSN (Print)2364-6934
ISSN (Electronic)2364-8198


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