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.