Painted Water—A Concept to Shape Water Negotiation Strategies in Shared River Basins
In a transboundary river basin, downstream states frequently express concerns regarding the potential utilization of water resources by upstream states as a tool for exerting coercion. This fact contributes to instilling doubt in the applicability of negotiations, even in transboundary basins that possess strong international agreements. In an effort to address the issue, this paper introduces the painted water concept. It divides upstream states’ available water into three triage color volumes before reaching downstream states in ascending order of negotiability: green, yellow, and red. Additionally, downstream states must consider the dynamics of transitions of painted water classes over time when developing their negotiation strategies and water policies. In order to assess the concept’s contribution in practice, we analyze trilateral riparian negotiations along the Blue Nile River basin, based on a “what-if” analysis approach under four global future scenarios. These results could shed light on part of the complexity of the Blue Nile negotiation and mainstream the water policies and perspectives of riparian states. Here, this paper shows that the painted water concept can provide multidisciplinary insights into proactive water negotiations. The inclusion of such a concept can help to deepen theories, approaches principals, and any disciplines pertinent to transboundary water negotiations.