Effective Water Governance

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"The goal of this paper is to present a coherent discussion of water governance, and show how it relates to water management and development. In the last few years the concept of integrated water resources management (IWRM) has been accepted as a means to ensure equitable, economically sound and environmentally sustainable management of water resources and provision of water services. This approach is defined by GWP as: a process which promotes the co-ordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximise the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital eco-systems (GWP, 2000). IWRM demands a new framework within which there may be a need for significant changes in existing interactions between politics, laws, regulations, institutions, civil society, and the consumer-voter. The capacity to make these changes depends therefore on changes in governance. This paper has been developed by the GWP as part of the Dialogue on Effective Water Governance. It is aimed at water professionals who increasingly need to be familiar with issues of governance as they strive to work outside the water sector. Governance is much debated but is probably not familiar to the water community; the paper thus sets out in Section 1 the present thinking on governance. It draws on current thinking by Kooiman (1993), Keohane and Ostrom (1995), Pierre (2000) and others but does not profess to be an exhaustive analysis and does not address the wider areas of 'good governance' such as democracy, electoral systems and sovereignty. In Section 2 the particular aspects of water governance are addressed and this covers both the management of water as a natural resource and the use of water for social or productive purposes. Section 3 gives some ideas on how to achieve effective water governance taking account of governance both within and outside the water sector. It does not pretend to be complete; indeed, one purpose of this paper is to stimulate more practical ideas and solutions. Finally, Section 4 gathers some observations on water governance that need to be taken into account when reforming systems and provides some examples of actions presently underway."



water management, water resources, equity, democracy, sustainability, governance and politics