Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector
International portal

News Towards the concerted management of transboundary aquifer systems: a methodological guide (Aquifères transfrontaliers)

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 a 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) [Download of the 1st part available here; in French]
  • 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) [Download of the 2nd part available here; in French].

This guidebook is currently available in French. An English translation will be available soon. Download  the guidebook (French version; 6MB).

For further information, you can contact Raya Marina Stephan



Les parties préliminaires qui ont permis la préparation du Guide méthodologique sur les aquifères transfrontaliers sont aujourd'hui en ligne. La première partie concerne un état des lieux de la question, et la deuxième rassemble des cas d'études à forts enjeux. Vous les trouverez ainsi que le Guide lui-même au lien suivant:

Contact information Raya M. Stephan (email:;
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information ISARM - Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management
Keyword(s) transboundary aquifers
Geographical coverage n/a
News date 17/11/2011
Working language(s) FRENCH