For full bibliographic details on the readings listed below, see the Readings page.

Part I: Introduction and the Water Diplomacy Framework (WDF)

Week 1


  • Introduction: Review of the course objectives; student responsibilities, class structure, and grading policy.
  • What is water diplomacy?
  • Complexities of water resource allocation: Why are transboundary water allocation problems complex? What do we know about addressing complex problems in the public realm?


  • Islam and Susskind, “Using Complexity Science and Negotiation Theory”
  • Huntjens and de Man, “Water Diplomacy: Making Water Cooperation Work”
  • Susskind and Islam, “Water diplomacy: Creating Value and Building Trust” 

Week 2


  • Water Diplomacy Framework (WDF): Introduction; stakeholder engagement; negotiation; benefit sharing; mutual gain


  • Islam and Susskind, Water Diplomacy chapters 1–8

Part II: Key Considerations

Week 3


  • Transboundary Water Conflicts and Cooperation: What advantages and disadvantages are there to referring to a water management effort as a “conflict” or an example of “cooperation”? Can we avoid conflicts over water? If so, how?
  • Transboundary Cooperation: What factors lead to cooperation in the management of common pool resources (CPR)? What questions must be addressed to ensure effective transboundary water management?
  • Water Security: What is security? How can water be secured? How can water diplomacy be useful in securing water resources?


  • Gleick, “Water and Conflict”
  • Wolf, “Conflict and Cooperation along International Waterways”
  • Cascão and Zeitoun, “Power, Hegemony and Critical Hydropolitics”
  • Cook and Bakker, “Water Security”
  • Gain, Giupponi, and Wada, “Measuring Global Water Security”

Recommended Skim:

  • Spector, “Motivating Water Diplomacy”

Week 4


  • The Evolution of Water Management: How has the practice of water resource management evolved over time?
  • Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM): What is adaptive management and how is it different than IWRM?
  • The Water-Energy Food (WEF) Nexus: What is new in the WEF Nexus? Why it is important in water diplomacy?
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and IWRM: How are transboundary cooperation and conflict reflected in SDG targets? How should IWRM be implemented to increase the chances of achieving SDGs?


  • Global Water Partnership (GWP) and International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), “A Handbook for Integrated Water Resources Management in Basins”
  • Pahl-Wostl, “Transitions towards Adaptive Management”
  • Benson, Gain, and Rouillard, “Water Governance in a Comparative Perspective”
  • Biswas, “Integrated Water Resources Management: A Reassessment”
  • Jianguo Liu et al., “Nexus Approaches to Global Sustainable Development”
  • Junguo Liu et al., “Challenges in Operationalizing the Water–Energy–Food Nexus”
  • Benson, Gain, and Giupponi, “Moving beyond Water Centricity?”
  • McCracken and Meyer, “Monitoring of Transboundary Water Cooperation”

Due: Case study topic

Part III: Role-Play Simulation

Week 5

Activity: Play the Indopotamia Game


  • First 1-page reflection on the Indopotamia Game
  • Identify the two cases you will comment on

Part IV: Regional Case Studies

Week 6

Guest Lecture: The Nile River Case (Dr. Jasmin Zaerpoor)


  • BBC, “Damming the Nile in 360 Video,” episodes 1 and 2.
  • 1959 Agreement on the Full Utilization of the Nile River.

Due: Second 1-page reflection on the Indopotamia Game

Week 7

Guest Lecture: The US-Mexico Water Case (Dr. Bruno Verdini Trejo)


  • Verdini Trejo, Winning Together

Week 8

Guest Lecture: The Indus/Jordan River Case (Prof. Shafiqul Islam)

Due: First draft of case study

Part V: Student Presentations

Week 9

Student Case Study Presentations

Week 10

Student Case Study Presentations

Week 11

Student Case Study Presentations

Week 12

Due: Final draft of case study

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples
theaters Lecture Videos
assignment_turned_in Presentation Assignments with Examples