We extend Bednar's theory of a robust federation to examine the factors and institutions influencing the effectiveness of transboundary water governance in an international river basin. We examine the evolution and performance of drought adaptation in the Rio Grande/Bravo river basin of the United States and Mexico-two federal countries. Droughts and water shortages since 1990 have triggered opportunistic behavior by resource users and their governments. Analysis of case studies in three nested geographic contexts (internationally, interstate United States and interstate Mexico) generates evidence of opportunistic behavior and either limited or disputed compliance both internationally and within each country. Structural safeguards have stipulated powers and functions for water allocation and conflict resolution in all three settings, but roles and responsibilities are not clear during droughts. The limitations of structural, popular, and judicial safeguards have elevated the importance of joint monitoring, which we identify as a vital new form of safeguard.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration