International Journal of Water Governance



Contents: Volume 2, No. 1, March, 2014




DOI: 10.7564/13-IJWG2

Building Blocks for Users’ Participation in Water Governance: Irrigators’ Organizations and State Reforms in Ecuador

Jaime Hoogesteger

Water Resources Management Group, Wageningen University




Participation of water users in Ecuadorian water governance has increased in the last two decades through decentralization, irrigation management transfer policies and efforts of non-governmental organizations and civil society to consolidate water user based multi-levelled organizations. This has resulted in an increased involvement of users in water management decisions at irrigation system, provincial and national levels. This article presents the development of these organizations in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and shows how these have formed and important political actor in the left wing government of Rafael Correa since 2007. It shows that a) for the development of water users’ participation in water governance, multi-level user based organiza- tions, that represent the interests of the water users, are needed; and b) that participation in water governance takes place through both formal institutional spaces and more importantly, through informal networking, popular protests, lobbying and negotiations is a contested process in which power differentials are disputed and negotiated.


Ecuador, institutional reforms, participation, water governance, water users organizations.


DOI: 10.7564/13-IJWG29

Variation in the perspective on sharing water:
Irrigators, their communities and the wider society

Henning Bjornlunda, Xinzheng Zhaob, Wei Xuc,*

aDepartment of Economics, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1K 3M4, and Centre for Regulation and Market Analyses, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, E-mail: henning.bjornlund (@)
bCollege of Urban and Environmental Science, Northwest University, No.1 University avenue, Chang’an District, Xi’an, Shaan’xi, China, Zip code: 710127, E-mail: xzzhao (@)
cDepartment of Geography, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1K 3M4, E-mail: wei.xu (@)




Due to increased water scarcity many basins are being closed and no new licenses to ex- tract water are being granted. Increasing demand for water for extractive and in-stream purposes makes it imperative to find ways of sharing existing water licenses between current and new users, including the environment. However, early attempts at water sharing have proven contro- versial and caused significant community conflicts in places like Australia and Alberta. Hence, there is an urgent need to find water sharing policies which are acceptable by a broader cross section of the community. This paper starts to fill this need by exploring the influences shaping policy preferences for water sharing in southern Alberta, Canada, in three main groups: i) people living in major cities, ii) residents living in small rural communities dependent on irrigation and iii) irrigators themselves. We find significant differences in policy preferences among the three groups, but rural residents align more strongly with their city cousins than with their irrigator neighbours. We also find that a number of socio-demographic variables influence policy prefer- ences, even when controlling for place of residence.


Water Reallocation, Water Sharing, Communities, Policy Preferences, Southern Alberta.


DOI: 10.7564/13-IJWG4

Working knowledge for collaborative water planning
in Australia’s Wet Tropics region

Cathy J. Robinsona*, Bruce Taylora, Karen Vellab, Tabatha Wallingtonc

aWater for a Healthy Country Flagship, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Ecoscience Precinct, GPO Box 2583, Brisbane, Queensland 4001, Australia, E-mails: Catherine.Robinson (@); Bruce.Taylor (@)
bSchool of Civil Engineering and Built Environment, Queensland Institute of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, 4000, Australia, E-mail: karen.vella (@)
cSchool of Social Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4072, Australia, E-mail: t.wallington (@)




Cooperation between multiple environmental decision-makers and activities is necessary to address the impacts of diffuse sources of agricultural pollution on the water quality entering Aus- tralia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Water planning efforts requires available knowledge to inform this co-operative water program implementation and reform. This paper uses knowledge sharing, translation and feedback features of collaboration as a way to assess knowledge work practices during key phases of the water planning process. A systematic review of knowledge work prac- tices is presented that was done in partnership with collaborative water planning groups estab- lished to inform water quality program investment decisions in the GBR’s Wet Tropics region. This research builds on the growing academic and policy interest in the conditions required to enable different types of knowledge to be successfully used for policy-making by focusing on when, how and why knowledge work to meet these conditions is required.


Joint Knowledge Production, Water Planning, Collaborative Environmental Governance, Watershed Management, Great Barrier Reef.


DOI: 10.7564/13-IJWG3

Political Legitimacy and Collaborative Water Governance:
An Exploratory Case Study

Julia Bairda,*, Jonas Velaniškisb, Ryan Plummera,c and John Fitzgibbond

a Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, L2S 3A1
b Regional District of Mount Waddington
c Stockholm Resilience Centre
d University of Guelph




There is growing acknowledgement of collaborative water governance as an effective means to deal with the complexity, uncertainty and dynamic nature of environmental challenges. However, the qualities of ‘good’ collaborative water governance are not widely recognized. Concerns regarding legitimacy in particular accompany shifts from government to governance. This research probes the political legitimacy of collaborative water governance, using procedural and substantive aspects to explore perceptions of participants in a collaborative water governance case study of source water protection planning in Ontario, Canada. Procedural legitimacy was perceived to have been achieved to a greater extent than substantive legitimacy. Uncertainty around stakeholder welfare and tradeoffs were main detractors from perceptions of legitimacy. As collaborative forms of governance are instituted more broadly, the procedural and substantive legitimacy of these approaches must be navigated and further investigation of legitimacy in governance approaches is required.


Collaborative water governance, political legitimacy, procedural legitimacy, source water protection, substantive legitimacy.


DOI: 10.7564/13-IJWG23

Multi-tiered Governance of the Rio Grande/Bravo Basin:
The Fragmented Water Resources Management Model
of the United States and Mexico

Luzma Fabiola Navaa,*, Samuel Sandoval Solisb

aGraduate institute of international studies Laval University Quebec, Canada, E-mail: luzma-fabiola.nava-jimenez.1 (@)
bDepartment of land, air and water resources University of California, Davis Davis, California, United States, E-mail: samsandoval (@)



Abstract: The Rio Grande/Bravo (RGB) Basin governing structure is characterized by the absence of a governmental entity providing an entire basin vision. This research argues there is a fragmentation in the basins water resources management (WRM) due to the allocation and distribution regime of surface water between and within both countries. This has caused a hydrological disconnection of the river and the proliferation of stakeholders and institutions that only have partial competence of the WRM. We provide a descriptive analysis of the current WRM, as well as the institutional and organizational framework which clearly exhibits governance fragmentation. A qualitative assessment of interviews conducted with experts in the RGB Basin supports these findings. WRM in the RGB Basin consists of a collection of regional governments that handle only the water resources issues affecting their regional political territory. This multi-tiered, mosaic governance structure reinforces the hydrologic disconnection within the river, and the fragmentation of the stakeholders.


Governance, Rio Grande, Rio Bravo, Fragmented Water Resources Management, Sustainability, Stakeholders Perspectives.


DOI: 10.7564/13-IJWG5

The Flood Risk Management Plan—An Essential Step Towards the Institutionalization of a Paradigm Shift

Thomas Hartmanna and Robert Juepnerb

a Utrecht University, the Netherlands,  b University of Kaiserslautern, Germany



Abstract: The European Flood Risk Management Plans are an essential step towards the institutionalization of the ongoing paradigm shift from flood protection to risk management. This challenges spatial planners and water engineers because of two particular features of these plans. First, it asks for a river basin-wide approach. This embraces the realm of spatial planning behind the dikes–an uncommon terrain for traditional water engineers; thus a new actor enters the policy arena of spatial planning. Second, it asks for the consideration of different flood scenarios beyond the traditional thresholds. Water engineers are requested to provide information on flooding scenarios instead of concise lines separating dry and wet land; spatial planners need to consider such information in their decision-making processes. The Flood Risk Management Plans therefore call for new modes of governance for both water management and spatial planning.


Flood protection, floods directive, modes of governance, spatial planning, water management.


Book review


Clumsy Floodplans. Responsive Land Policy for Extreme Floods
Thomas Hartmann; Farnham: Ashgate, pp 170, hardcover, 2011; ISBN 978-1-409-41845-0


Reviewed by: Timothy Moss IRS, Erkner, Germany mosst (@)



This book makes for a stimulating but frustrating read. It is stimulating because it draws on a variety of social-science perspectives to shed fresh light on the intractable problems beleaguering current attempts to address extreme flood events, coming up with some innovative approaches of responsive land policy. It is frustrating because its fre- quent disregard for argumentative clarity, methodological soundness, existing research and the English language make the book a less than easy read. As a result, valuable analy- sis of the path dependency undermining efforts towards flood risk management today and some truly novel suggestions for alternative pathways of future land policy tend to get lost in turgid theoretical discussions, throw-away empirical anecdotes and contradictory assertions throughout the book....


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Book review


Governing International Watercourses. River Basin Organizations and the Sustainable Governance of Internationally Shared Rivers and Lakes
Susanne Schmeier; London: Routledge, pp 344, hardcover, 2013; ISBN 978-0-415-62358-2


Reviewed by: Jeroen Warner, Social Sciences Group, Wageningen University, jeroen.warner (@)



When Marwa Daoudy, Syrian speaker at the World Water Forum 2009 in Istanbul referred to the Euphrates-Tigris as an ‘international river basin’, pandemonium erupted. The Turkish water experts, a majority in the hall where she spoke, loudly voiced their discontent with a phrase that implicitly called Turkey’s absolute sovereignty over the rivers into question. Prospective Turkish buyers of this volume, then, may be none to pleased with the title of Susanne Schmeier’s otherwise diplomatically worded book on water flows crossing national borders: governing international - rather than ‘transboundary’ - watercourses. Earlier Schmeier, a noted German water scholar whose PhD dissertation on the same topic received a summa cum laude distinction, published an excellent literature review on hydropolitics as a working paper ( publications/Schmeier%20RBO%20Literature%20Review%2010.pdf), which no doubt laid the foundation for this tome. This book is no less thorough, presenting a helpful overview of the institutional mechanics of key crossborder basins and issues....


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