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SPECIAL ISSUE OF WATER INTERNATIONAL: Water management in Basins of rivers, lakes and aquifers: the challenges ahead after 30 years of innovation


Abstract submission deadline: 15 March 2023



A sound and balanced management of water resources can no longer be tackled by sector or localization, nor separately. On the contrary, the solutions must link national and local authorities with the users, in an integrated approach, respecting the natural environment, organized on the scale of a river, lake or aquifer basin and aiming at the sustainable use of water resources. Agreements and strategies, programs, financing and monitoring should thus be designed at the basin level. For large transboundary waters, cooperation agreements should be formalized between riparian countries. Basin organizations are key players for sustainable development at national level, and for peace at transboundary level, with a strong role to play for SDGs 6.5.1 and 6.5.2 (among many others).


The scope of the Special Issue :

Main objectives:

  • the progress and challenges of water resources management at basin level over the past 30 years (examples and solutions in river, lakes or aquifer basins), and
  • to develop new ideas for basin water management, related to the different topics below.

The emphasis will be on innovative approaches and solutions which show demonstrated improved outcomes.


Main topics:

  • Governance including but not limited to institutional organization (human resources, capacities), functions and operation, legal and institutional frameworks, and conventions or agreements.
  • Financing of water basin management, including but not limited to “user-polluter / pays tax”, public-private partnership, and payment for environmental services.
  • Water information systems and monitoring at basin level (surface water and aquifers), such as hydrometeorology, remote sensing and spatial data, new technologies for advanced basin management (e.g., digital basins for and data acquisition and monitoring based on remote sensing and sensors, crowdsources / citizen sciences, advanced models for decision support - integrated hydro-economic basin models, etc.), climate change monitoring, flood warning, wetlands and biodiversity, water-forests links, water quality.
  • Strategy and actions planning and implementation in basins, such as basin analysis, planning tools for equity in water allocation, master plan definition, investments program, nature based solutions and “green infrastructures”, transboundary cooperation, implementation and follow-up, climate change adaptation, water-related risks, and stakeholders’ participation (civil society / citizen involvement).


Intended audience of the issue:

  • Both scientists (“Review and Research articles”) and practitioners (“Case studies”)
  • Organizations managing national, federal and transboundary river basins and the cooperation structures they have developed among them
  • Governmental administration in charge of water management in the countries applying or being interested in applying integrated water resources management (organized through large hydrographic units, associating administrations and local authorities, users from the various sectors, etc.), especially for the case studies
  • Scientists and researchers involved in water resources management at basin level (e.g., professors, scientists of Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research CGIAR), for “Review and Research articles”
  • Cooperation partners supporting institution-building activities related to large river basins and aquifers
  • Students who are interested in sustainable basin management issues

The contributions concern 2 types of articles:

  1. Review and Research articles (theory, analysis, review of big evolutions of basin management over the last 30 years…)
  2. Case studies (practice at geography specific - basin management in one country, transboundary basins...), with comparative analysis of practices, with special focus to innovative ones.


Submission process

Abstracts (300 words IN ENGLISH) can be submitted to Christophe BRACHET ( and Marjorie LUPI ( by 15 March 2023. Submission should include the type of paper (Review and Research articles or Case study), the title of the paper, as well as the name, surname, and email address of the author(s). File name should be "YOURNAME_Water International". Author(s) whose abstract will be accepted will be required to submit a full manuscript following Water international’s guidelines.

Important dates

  • Submission starts: 16 January 2023
  • Abstract submission (around 300 words) deadline for both "Review and Research" articles and “Case studies”: 15 March 2023
  • Final decision notification: 30 April 2023
  • Submission of the full paper (no more than 4000 words for Review and Research articles, with an emphasis on innovation, and no more than 2500 words for Case studies - both including references and figure legends): 30 June 2023
  • Peer reviews due: 31 July 2023
  • Authors informed of decision: 30 September 2023
  • Revised manuscripts due: 31 October 2023
  • Launch of Special Issue: 31 January 2024

The Guest editors of this special issue include Christophe BRACHET (Deputy Secretary of International Network of Basin Organizations - INBO), James Nickum (Editor-in-Chief, IWRA), Raya Marina Stephan (Deputy Editor-in-Chief, IWRA), Ximing Cai (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Bruce Hooper (International Water Policy Advisor), and Alain Bernard (IWRM and governance expert, INBO).

The Special Issue will be presented at the 10th World Water Forum in May 2024 in Indonesia, and the articles will appear on the website of Water International as soon as they are accepted, prior to publication in the Special Issue of the journal.