Satellite Data and the Allocation of International Waters
Every country on earth that is not an island shares water resources with one of their neighbors. Due to their strategic nature, the management of these water has important repercussions on the political stability of the concerned region. Under the right conditions, the need to share scarce water resources can act as a catalyst for dialogue between otherwise hostile neighbors. However, the involved countries are typically reluctant to share water resource information with their neighbors for strategic reasons. This lack of transparency is a major barrier to enforceable water allocation treaties and can lead to an ineffective use of the resource (the so-called "Tragedy of the Commons"). In that context, the increasing availability of high quality satellite data can be a game changer by allowing water resources to be monitored beyond political borders. Focusing on key hot spots for water disputes, we couple remote sensing techniques, hydrological models and game theory to evaluate the effect of this new source of information on the allocation of international waters, and design tools to ultimately incorporate it in transboundary water negotiations.