The Register of International River Basins is a list that identifies the world's international rivers basins. Originally begun in 1978 by the now-defunct United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database has been responsible for maintaining and up-dating the register since 1999. Below you can find the current and previous Registers of International River Basins, links to download the current Register's data, and maps from the current Register.
Current Register of International River Basins - 2018
The tabular data for the current Register of International River Basins is available to download. It includes the list of 310 international river basins and their associated basin country units (BCU) and area calculations. The spatial delineations and geographic information system (GIS) shapefiles are available as a part of the Spatial Database.
Historical Evolution of the Register of International River Basins
There have been three Registers and two updates produced as a part of other projects on international river basins. The following table lists the number of international river basins and the total percentages of land area within an international river basin (excluding Antarctica). These numbers have changed over time and represent a snapshot in time of the rivers that meet the criteria to be considered international. Changes to political borders and increases in remote sensing technology are the two primary reasons for the increase in number of international river basins.
||Number of Basins
||Percentage of the
World's Land Surface
- 1978 Register: United Nations Centre for Natural Resources, Energy and Transport of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 1978. Register of international rivers. New York: Pergamon for the United Nations.
- 1999 Register: Wolf, A. T., Natharius, J. A., Danielson, J. J., Ward, B. S., & Pender, J. K. (1999). International river basins of the world. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 15(4), 387–427.
- 2010 Update: De Stefano, L., Edwards, P., de Silva, L., & Wolf, A. T. (2010). Tracking cooperation and conflict in international basins: Historic and recent trends. Water Policy, 12(6), 871–884.
- 2016 Update: UNEP-DHI. 2016. Transboundary river basins: Status and trends. Volume 3: River Basins. Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Environment Programme.
- 2018 Register: McCracken, M. and Wolf, A.T. Updating the register of international river basins of the world. International Journal of Water Resources Development, Accepted Online: 29 March 2019.
Maps from the 2018 Register of International River Basins
All maps below can be downloaded at full resolution from the Map and Image Galleries.