The Guarani Aquifer System, highly present but not high profile: A hydropolitical analysis of transboundary groundwater governance

Hussam Hussein

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35 Citations (Scopus)
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This article explores the governance of the Guarani Aquifer System (GAS) through the lens of critical hydropolitics and specifically through the framework of hydro-hegemony. This study is important as the GAS, which is one of the first examples of transboundary groundwater cooperation, has been studied through hydrological, geological and legal disciplinary approaches, but hydropolitical analyses of the issues raised in cooperation of this resource is still lacking. While a hydrological analysis of the GAS is important, it is not enough to comprehend and make sense of the governance and political agreements among the countries. For this reason, this article complements the existing studies on the hydrological, geological, and legal analyses published on this aquifer. By taking the case study of the GAS, this article makes important empirical contributions to the study of transboundary groundwater cooperation. This article argues that through critical hydropolitics, and in particular by consideration of the power asymmetries between states and their exploitation potential of groundwater, it is possible to more accurately understand the current water governance’s arrangements around the GAS. It also argues that critical hydropolitics fails to explain informal cooperation arrangements in the case of the GAS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-62
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Early online date23 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Hydro-hegemony
  • Guarani
  • Guarani Aquifer System
  • Groundwater governance
  • Hydropolitics

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