Transboundary river basins are of immense economic and environmental importance but their management constitutes a vexing international problem. While supply is constant, human activity and changing environmental conditions lead to the decline of global water availability. Scarcity and changes in resource availability are likely to spur conflict between partners to a shared system. Therefore, international institutions and agreements, able to adapt to changing circumstances will prove to be essential. Regarding the flexibility of international water agreements, mechanisms to address conflict (CRM) have already been defined as particularly important. But despite the fact that a better understanding of CRM-use could provide key insights about costs and benefits, their appearance in international agreements or the conditions that provoke their choice have not been systematically examined. This study analyzes the content of a large number of water agreements and examines which mechanisms are adopted under what conditions. First, we distinguished 4 types of conflict resolution (“negotiation”, “mediation”, “arbitration” and “adjudication”) and identify potential barriers to their adoption. Next, we selected explanatory variables that potentially affect the choice of CRM and carried out a multivariate regression to determine which of them were significant. Our results indicate that, although conflict resolution is considered important, still 45 per cent of the sampled treaties lack such provision. Multilateral agreements, however, are more likely to contain CRM. Most agreements do not specify the activation procedure of the mechanism or how to bear the cost of its use. Through this research we aim to gain insight in the diversity of conflict resolution mechanisms available, while acquiring more knowledge of the circumstances in which they are adopted. Ultimately, this study can offer policy makers a guide for negotiating environmental agreements.