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Dr Naho Mirumachi

Published Book

My book, Transboundary Water Politics in the Developing World (Routledge, 2015), asks how and why shared water resources become contested.  I explore the socio-political process of water use and allocation.  As such, the book is not just simply about conflict and cooperation that occur in international transboundary river basins. My analysis sheds light on elite decision-makers, the framing of development strategies and water resources demands, and the role of geopolitical factors and geographical imaginations. 

Naho BookA key contribution of this book is the development of a new analytical framework.  The Transboundary Waters Interaction NexuS (TWINS) traces how basin relationships evolve over time, demonstrating coexisting conflict and cooperation.  The analytical framework focuses on the effects of power asymmetry to explain the changes to conflict and cooperation intensities.  Informed by intensive fieldwork in Southern Africa and South and Southeast Asia, I bring together insights on the political economy of international transboundary river basins. 


“The importance of this book extends beyond transboundary water and the developing world to bring intelligent insights to many water issues.  Naho Mirumachi critically examines a number of shibboleths in water management such as: conflict and cooperation are opposites; agreement means decisions are equitable; templates like the creation of strong river basin organization structures leads to better decisions; and increasing resources for the hydrocracy serves the public interest. This is the best book about water I have read in a long time”

Prof. Helen Ingram, The Southwest Centre, University of Arizona and Professor Emeritus, University of California at Irvine, USA

“Transboundary Water Politics in the Development World brings insight and nuance to a field of inquiry dominated by speculation and generalisation…Applying a rich theoretical framework dubbed ‘TWINS’ – the transboundary waters interaction nexus – to three chase studies, Naho Mirumachi sheds new light not only in terms of her cases – the Mekong, Ganges-Brahmaputra, and Orange-Senqu river basins – but in terms of what we know and what we can expect from transboundary water politics.  This is a must-read for all those interested in the complex ways a multiplicity of actors, forces and factors come together in the simultaneously conflictful and cooperative world of water resources development and management”

Prof. Larry Swatuk, University of Waterloo, Canada

Outreach Activites:

I have written guest blog articles that communicate some of the key messages of the book for academic and policy communities interested in environmental diplomacy, peace and security, and environmental change.

Cooperation Is Not Enough: Why We Need to Think Differently About Water  [For New Security Beat]

Reflecting on Transboundary Water Politics to Mark World Water Day 2015 [For]

Wicked problems, messy analysis, clumsy solutions? What we need to think about when we talk about water cooperation [For World Peace Foundation]

Reimagining Water Futures:

Based on ideas evolving from my book, I set up a project that focuses on how we can communicate scientific insights and affect change.  Reimagining water futures: exploring culture and communication of water stewardship science seeks to develop new ideas on sustainability, equity and social justice in the use, allocation and stewardship of water.  It brings together academics, artists and science writers from the cultural sector.

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