Groundwater protection, which is effected by multiple actors at multiple levels using multiple instruments, is commonly termed “groundwater governance”. Although the concept has attracted increasing attention since the 1990s, several of its associated measures remain to be fully implemented. Most are still inchoate strategies and improvement is expected to be a gradual, long-term process. The Gakunan Council for Coordinated Groundwater Pumping (CCGP), which was established, in 1967, in Fuji City in Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture, is an exceptional case. The Gakunan CCCP was created to deal with a common-pool resource problem where massive groundwater pumping caused seawater intrusion in the city’s coastal area due to the low cost of extraction and incomplete groundwater ownership. The Gakunan CCCP succeeded in recovering elevation of groundwater tables by connecting efforts between the public and private sectors, including information sharing, legal authority to regulate groundwater, investment in alternative water supplies, internal subsidies between groundwater users, and charge for water disposal. Previous studies have iterated that the fostering of participation from various stakeholders and dividing labor between them appropriately are key elements of successful groundwater governance. This paper investigates these factors, explores the importance of the metagovernor as coordinator, and offers a fresh perspective on the significance of groundwater governance.
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