One of the main causes of water conflicts in transboundary watersheds all over the world is represented by the increasing water demand due to urban, industrial, and agricultural development. In this context, water scarcity plays a critical role since, during a drought period, water supply is not sufficient to cover the demand of all water uses. In this work, we have conceptualized and developed a new scenario-based framework able to improve the sustainability and equity of water allocation among two or more riparian countries. The proposed approach is in accordance with the United Nations Watercourses Convention. It considers a hydraulic/hydrologic model, a water-management model, and combines them with multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and what if scenario analysis (WISA). The suggested framework was applied to the transboundary watershed of Cuareim/Quaraí river (Uruguay/Brazil) to tackle a real water-sharing conflict. It resulted in being very flexible in exploring various policy options and test and quantifying them with different scenarios to reach an objective and impartial decision in a water-sharing issue. This framework can effectively be applied to any other transboundary watershed to resolve any possible conflict related to water-allocation/water-management matter.
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