Environmental Role-Play:

Finn River Basin Negotiating Boundary-Crossing Water-Management Agreements


Danya Rumore, Anjali Lohani, and Mubarik Imam

Seven-party, seven-person, multi-issue negotiation game involving a dispute over inter-provincial water allocations. It explores issues of prediction and monitoring, water sharing, and the environmental adequacy of water flows.


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


Finn River Basin is a seven-party, seven-person, multi-issue negotiation game involving a dispute over inter-provincial water allocations. It explores issues of prediction and monitoring, water sharing, and the environmental adequacy of water flows. The game introduces a mutual-gains approach (MGA) to negotiation and highlights the benefits of a more collaborative, non-zero- sum approach to managing boundary waters.


Concerned about continued drought and the mismanagement of water resources in the Finn River Basin, the Ministerial Council of the Alba national government has convened a meeting of key stakeholders to advise on improved water-management strategies for the Basin. A representative from the Ministerial Council, who has received specific instructions from the national government, will facilitate the meeting. The other stakeholder participants include representatives from each of the four Alban states that share the Finn River Basin—Northland, Eastland, Southland, and Darbin—along with representative from the Ministry of the Environment (a national government agency), and a representative from the Basin Authority (an independent body consisting of politically appointed leaders from each of the four states). If the Ministerial Council representative and at least five of the other stakeholders can reach agreement on a proposed package of actions, the Ministerial Council has agreed to cover the cost of implementation. If at least six of the seven participants cannot reach agreement, it is likely that the Ministerial Council will impose its own Basin-management plan and force the states to pay some or all of the cost of implementation.

The seven parties have been asked to addresses three key issues:

(1) Water prediction and water-use monitoring: who will develop water-availability predictions and who will monitor water withdrawals?

(2) Unused water allocations: what should be done with water allocations that are not used by any given state in any given year?

(3) Environmental flows: should certain amounts of water be allocated to ensure minimum flows during times of drought to protect the environment, and, if so, who should decide what these flows should be and whose shares should be reduced to ensure them?


General Instructions (including map)

Confidential Instructions for the Ministerial Council Representative (including facilitation instructions and an agreement reporting form)

Confidential Instructions for the Basin Authority Representative

Confidential Instructions for the Ministry of the Environment Representative

Confidential Instructions for the Northland Representative

Confidential Instructions for the Eastland Representative

Confidential Instructions for Southland Representative

Confidential Instructions for the Darbin Representative

Teacher's Package includes:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Note

Finn River Basin Attributes

Time required: 3-4 hours
Number of participants: 7
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: None
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes