Developing and Managing River Basins: The Need for Adaptive, Multilevel, Collaborative Institutional Arrangements

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"Pressure on water resources heightens hydrological, social, and ecological interdependencies in river basins (as well as the basins of lakes and aquifers). More interdependency demands more integrated approaches to developing and managing water resources at the basin level. Many countries have implemented or are testing such approaches. Even more are struggling with how to put in place institutional arrangements to support more integrated management. The Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (CA) analyzed river basin governance and management in the context of increasing competition for water for agriculture and other uses, pollution of water resources, and degradation of ecosystems. This analysis showed that to cope with the diversity of competing values and political and economic interests in basins and increasing water scarcity, natural hazards, and climate change, we need adaptive, multilevel, collaborative governance arrangements. It also showed that progress in establishing such arrangements has been slow---often with undue emphasis on form over process and a lack of redistribution of decision-making power from centralized 'hydro-bureaucracies' to users. To speed progress, the Technical Committee of the Global Water Partnership (GWP), whose regional and country partnerships are engaged in different aspects of basin management, has undertaken this joint brief with the CA and the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO)."



river basins, adaptation, collaboration, water management, water resources, pollution