Guidelines for Multidisciplinary Assessment of Transboundary Aquifers

Transboundary aquifer or transboundary aquifer system means respectively, an aquifer or aquifer system, part of which are situated in different States. The international aspect of a transboundary aquifer makes its management more complex than in a case of an aquifer located within the State borders. An informed and sustainable management of commonly shared aquifer asks for adequate knowledge of its characteristics, present state and trends. In order to acquire this knowledge, regular monitoring and assessment of the transboundary aquifer need to be performed. The document describes a methodology for multidisciplinary assessment of transboundary aquifers and gives the guidelines for its implementation.

The draft of the methodology guidelines presented in the document are the outcome of several initiatives, including the ISARM programme led by UNESCO and the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) and the first phase of the TWAP project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). UNESCO-IHP and IGRAC are grateful to all experts involved in these initiatives who provided important input and/or feedback on the methodology for the multi-disciplinary assessment of transboundary aquifers. This methodology was also applied and further developed in two projects: The TWAP Groundwater component which is a comparative assessment of 199 transboundary aquifers worldwide; and the GGRETA project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), which entailed in-depth assessments of three transboundary aquifers. IGRAC and UNESCO-IHP are additionally grateful to the country and assessment coordinators and technical experts whose hard work and feedback further refined and informed this methodology.


This document contains a draft version of the guidelines. Future updates will be made available on this website. In meantime, comments and suggestions are very welcome via (link sends e-mail).

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