|The list of factors and circumstances to be taken into account when determining equitable and reasonable use can be divided into three broad categories:
(1) factors of a natural character (hydrographic, hydrological, climatic, ecological, etc.);
(2) economic and social factors (economic needs, population dependent on watercourse, effects of use on coriparians, existing and potential uses, conservation measures, and availability of alternatives);
(3) environmental factors.
An interdisciplinary team of legal experts, economists and hydrologists, in association with the IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, developed the ‘Relevant Factors Matrix’ as the core of the ‘Legal Assessment Model’ (LAM).218 Its aim is to support the implementation of the principle of equitable and reasonable utilisation by providing a methodology which can be used for identifying and considering all relevant factors in each specific case. The LAM follows four basic steps:
(1) defining scope,
(2) collection of data,
(4) and providing options for ensuring equitable and reasonable utilisation.
It has been designed as a flexible tool applicable to both upstream and downstream countries and also to transboundary groundwater resources. This allows for its employment when developing national water plans where a state needs to manage its transboundary water resources; when legal guidance is required for data information and exchange agreements; for transboundary river basin studies; as a process for negotiating a freshwater agreement between states; or for facilitating dispute resolution mechanisms.
The Relevant Factors Matrix has been designed and developed on the basis of the two principal documents related to the law of international watercourses: the Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers; and the UN Watercourses Convention. However, the factors of the Relevant Factors Matrix differ from both sources in a number of ways, as they are grouped into six categories (See Figure 2.3).
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