Administrative fragmentation among government agencies has posed a significant challenge to environmental governance. However, few studies have theoretically examined and empirically measured how local governments in China address this with collaborative approaches. Informed by the ecology of games framework (EGF), this paper examined the status of inter-agency water governance in Dongguan City: the pilot city of aquatic ecologically friendly city of China. The research question we seek to address is: What are the main characteristics of the water governance network in local China? With empirical data collected via survey questionnaires and semi-structured in-depth interviews following the EGF, we find that local agencies have realized the need for cooperation in water resource management. However, they were not substantially familiar with each other in the local policy network, failing to reach their full potential in collaboration. Social network analysis was used to analyze the collaborative network. We found that the network has a weak to moderate density, allowing for collective action problems and leading to insufficient cooperative governance. The network has presented central actors with strong bridging capital to control information and resource flows. We also find strong bonding capital among some policy actors as shown in high reciprocity, clustering coefficient and transitivity. To strengthen the effectiveness of local water governance, efforts should be made to establish a functional department and extend the boundary of collaborative network.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited