Towards the concerted management of transboundary aquifer systems: a methodology published by the French Development Agency

In order to efficiently contribute to take up the challenges of the sustainable management of transboundary aquifers, the French Development Agency (AFD) launched a methodological study in close partnership with UNESCO-IHP’s ISARM project, the French Water Academy, the International Office for Water, and the French Geological Survey (BRGM). The aim of this study is to develop an operational guidebook which consists of recommendations targeted to political decision-makers and managers, and includes case studies selected on several continents.

The methodological guide first recalls the main issues at stake regarding transboundary aquifers and the need for more comprehensive approach based on IWRM principles (Part I). It then describes a whole range of technical, legal, organizational, economic, training and cooperation tools that can help improve the knowledge and management of these precious resources (Part II). Finally, it proposes a progressive, multi-pronged approach for implementing the concerted, equitable and sustainable management of transboundary aquifer systems. It also takes a look at the potential mechanisms for creating and sustainably operating an appropriate institutional structure to manage these shared groundwater resources (Part III).

The guidebook is the third part of more global study, and is preceded by important preparatory work.

The first part is about a preliminary assessment and general analysis including the identification of going on dynamics at the legal, institutional and technical levels, an identification major challenges and an analysis of experiences on some transboundary aquifer systems (North Western Sahara, Iullemeden, Guarani, Nubian sandstone, Upper Rhine, Carboniferous, Genevese and Stampriet aquifer systems)

The second part includes detailed case studies of seven transboundary aquifer systems representing important challenges (aquifer systems of the Mekong River basin, coastal aquifers Ghana-Togo-Benin, lac Chad basin, Senegal-Mauritania aquifer system, Taouudeni-Tanezrouft, Iuellemeden, Mountain and Coastal aquifers between Palestinian Territories and Israel);

These two parts will be available soon.

The Guidebook can be downloaded at

For further information, you can contact AIDA member Raya Marina Stephan, who is one of the co-authors of this Guidebook(