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Durham University

IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

International River Boundaries Database

Welcome to the International River Boundaries Database (IRBD). The IRBD has been compiled by IBRU to provide the most accurate information available related to river boundary sections, including their length and definition. Historically, rivers have been a popular choice for boundary makers for a number of reasons, including their potential defensive capability and their presumed clarity on the ground. However, as dynamic natural features the movement of rivers has generated frequent disputes over the position of boundaries that are often understood to require rigidity. In addition, as vital natural resources that are both divided and shared, river boundaries are vulnerable to dispute over aspects of water management as well as boundary definition.

The IRBD includes all recognised international boundaries as well as known de facto boundaries (e.g. North Korea-South Korea, Israel-Palestine, Cyprus-Northern Cyprus) and the total land boundary lengths utilised for most of the boundaries within the IRBD are drawn from the CIA World Factbook, except where noted. The inclusion of a boundary within the IRBD does not imply its recognition by IBRU and users should consult the 'IRBD Disclaimer' for more information regarding usage. The lengths of many river boundary sections within the IRBD have been estimated using paths created within Google Earth and are included as KML files in the section details area of the database. The lines depicted in the KML files were created to help measure the lengths of river sections and they should not be treated as authoritative representations of boundary alignment or as a guide to ownership of territory, including river islands.


It must be emphasised that the IRBD is not a static project. It is intended to help understand the true scale of river boundaries around the globe and to encourage dialogue concerning their delimitation and management. Likewise, boundary scholars or government officials with more accurate information about specific river boundary sections are encouraged to contact IBRU with more details.


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