Water Law and Cooperation in the Euphrates-Tigris Region: A Comparative and Interdisciplinary Approach

Recommended Literature and Database

This database was created within the framework of the “Water Project” of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (2010–2012), which dealt with the legal dimensions of the Euphrates and Tigris conflict and was funded by the German Foreign Office. In addition to a selection of applicable international treaties and national legal texts it includes references to relevant literature which provide interested persons with a good overview of the issues.

Global and Regional Public International Law

  • Max Planck Compilation of International Water Law Treaties and other Legal Instruments (PDF-en)
  • Max Planck Compilation of International Treaties and other Documents Relative to the Euphrates-Tigris-Region (PDF-en)

National Law


  • Legislation on Water Resources Protection in Iraq: An Overview of the Basic Legal Features (PDF-en)(PDF-ar)
  • Ministry of Water Resources Law (PDF-ar)
  • Regulation on the Preservation of Water Resources (PDF-ar)
  • Law of the General Authority for Water and Sewage (PDF-ar)
  • Environment Protection and Improvement Law (PDF-ar)
  • Kurdistan Ministry of Water Resources Law (PDF-ar)



  • Legislative Framework for Water Management in Turkey                                                     (PDF-en)(PDF-ar)(PDF-tr)


  • Overview of the Water Law of the Federal Republic of Germany                                          (PDF-en)(PDF-ar)(PDF-tr)(PDF-de)

Recommended Literature

Allan, J.A.: The Middle East Water Question. Hydropolitics and the Global Economy. I.B. Tauris, London 2008.

Beyerlin, U. /Marauhn, T.: International Environmental Law. Hart, Oxford 2011.

Biedler, M.: Hydropolitics of the Tigris-Euphrates River Basin with Implications for the European Union. In: Centre Européen de Recherche Internationale et Stratégique: Research Paper No. 1, 2004.

Binder, C.: Völkerrecht und Staudammbauten: das Illisu-Projekt. In: Juridikum, 1, 2007, pp. 10–15.

Biswas, A.K. (ed.): International Waters of the Middle East: from Euphrates-Tigris to Nile. Oxford University Press, Bombay 1994.

Bremer, N.: Wasserverteilung und -nutzung an Euphrat und Tigris aus der Sicht des Völkerrechts. Dargestellt am Beispiel der Stauprojekte Atatürk und Ilisu. forthcoming

Caponera, D.A.: The Legal Status of the Shatt-al-Arab (Tigris and Euphrates) River Basin. In: Austrian Journal of Public and International Law, 45, 2, 1993, p. 147.

Chalabi, H. /Majzoub, T.: Turkey, the Waters of the Euphrates and Public International Law. In: Allan, J.A./Mallat, C. (eds.): Water in the Middle East: Legal, Political and Commercial Implications. I.B. Tauris, London 1995, p. 189.

Cohen, J.E.: International Law and the Water Politics of the Euphrates. In: N.Y.U. Journal of International Law & Politics, 24, 1992, p. 503.

Dellapenna, J.W.: The Two Rivers and the Lands Between: Mesopotamia and the International Law of Transboundary Waters. In: BYU Journal of Public Law, 10, 1996, p. 213.

Elver, H.: Peaceful Uses of International Rivers – the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers Dispute. Transnational Publishers, Ardsley, NY 2002.

Hagers, R.A.: The Euphrates Basin: in Search of a Legal Regime. In: Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, 3, 1990, p. 207.

Jouejati, M.: Water Politics as High Politics: The Case of Turkey and Syria. In: Barkey, H.J. (ed.): Reluctant Neighbor: Turkey’s Role in the Middle East. USIP Press Books, 1997, p. 131.

Kaya, I.: The Euphrates-Tigris Basin: An Overview and Opportunities for Cooperation under International Law. In: University of Arizona Arid Lands Newsletter, 44, 1998.

Kharouf-Gaudig, R.: Le droit international et la gestion de l’eau dans les bassins du Tigre et de l’Euphrate. In: L’eau en droit international: Colloque d’Orléans, Pairs, Pedone 2011, pp. 283-291.

Kibaroglu, A.: Building a Regime for the Waters of the Euphrates-Tigris River Basin. Kluwer Law, London 2002.

Kibaroglu, A.: The role of epistemic communities in offering new cooperation frameworks in the Euphrates-Tigris Rivers system. In: Journal of International Affairs, 61, 2, 2008, p. 183.

Kibaroglu, A. /Scheumann, W.: Euphrates-Tigris River System: Political Rapprochement and Transboundary Water Cooperation. In: Kibaroglu, A./Scheumann, W./Kramer, A. (eds.): Turkey’s Water Policy: National Framework and International Cooperation. Springer, Berlin 2011, p. 277.

Kibaroglu, A., et al.: Cooperation on Turkey’s Transboundary Waters. Status Report commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, 2005.

Kibaroglu, A./Kirschner, A. J. / Mehring, S. /  Wolfrum, R. (eds.): Water Law and Cooperation in the Euphrates-Tigris Region. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden 2013. 

Kirschner, A./Tiroch, K.: Sharing and Protecting the Euphrates and Tigris: Legal Status Quo. In: Kibaroglu, A./Kirschner, A./Mehring, S./Wolfrum, R. (eds.): Water Law and Cooperation in the Euphrates-Tigris Region: A Comparative and Interdisciplinary Approach. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden 2013, pp. 83–118.

Kirschner, A./Tiroch, K.: The Waters of the Euphrates and Tigris: An International Law Perspective. In: Max Planck UNYB, 16. Nijhoff/Heidelberg 2012, pp. 329–394.

Kliot, N.: Water Resources and Conflict in the Middle East. Routledge, London 2005.

KolarsJ.F.: Problems of International River Management: The Case of the Euphrates. In: Biswas, A.K. (ed.): International Water of the Middle East: From Euphrates-Tigris to Nile. Oxford University Press, Bombay 1994, p. 44.

KolarsJ.F./Mitchell, W.A.: The Euphrates River and the Southeast Anatolia Development Project. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois 1991. 

Lupu, Y.: International Law and the Waters of the Euphrates and Tigris. In: Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, 14, 2001, p. 349.

McCaffrey, S. C.: Water Resources in the Middle East, American Society of International Law, Proceedings of the 80th Annual Meeting, 1986, p. 249.

Moschtaghi, R.: Shatt al Arab. In: Wolfrum, R. (ed.): The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford University Press, 2008, online edition.

Naff, T./Matson, R.C.: Water in the Middle East: Conflict or Cooperation? Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado 1984.

Pring, G. / Salman Banaei, B.: Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. In: Wolfrum, R. (ed.): The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford University Press, 2008, online edition.

Scheumann, W.: Conflicts on the Euphrates: An Analysis of Water and Non-water Issues. In: Scheumann, W./Schiffler, M. (eds.): Water in the Middle East: Potential for Conflicts and Prospects for Cooperation, Springer, Berlin 1998, p. 113.

Strategic Foresight Group: The Blue Peace: Rethinking Middle East Water. Lifon Industries, Mumbai 2011. 

Waterbury, J.: Transboundary Water and the Challenge of Cooperation in the Middle East. In: Rogers, P./Lydon, P. (eds.): Water in the Arab World: Perspectives and Prognoses. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1994, p. 39.

Wolf, A.T./Newton, J.T.: Case Study Transboundary Dispute Resolution: The Tigris-Euphrates Basin. n.d., S. 1–6.