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Polycentric Solutions for Groundwater Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Encouraging Institutional Artisanship in an Extended Ladder of Participation

Independent Researcher and Consultant, 12 Ridge Road, Unit A, Greenbelt, MD 20770, USA
Academic Editors: Y. Jun Xu and Viviana Re
Water 2021, 13(5), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050630
Received: 16 December 2020 / Revised: 5 February 2021 / Accepted: 19 February 2021 / Published: 27 February 2021
The growth of groundwater irrigation poses opportunities and challenges, particularly in Africa where substantial potential exists for increased groundwater irrigation but has been constrained by limited access to energy, technology for pumps and drilling, markets, and other factors. Conventional groundwater governance concepts for state-led regulation or co-management are problematic for conditions where state capacity or political support for regulation to reconcile conflicting interests is limited. Experience in Africa and elsewhere does offer examples that may help recognize feasible patterns for collective action that can influence the equity, efficiency, and sustainability of groundwater development. An extended ladder of participation helps look beyond state-led water governance and co-management to a more diverse range of opportunities for supporting local autonomy and initiative to expand opportunities and solve problems in groundwater development. Collective action in groundwater governance can include well spacing; sharing of wells, pumps, and pipes; protecting domestic water sources; crop coordination; groundwater recharge; water imports; and aquifer management. Even where non-state organizations and collective action play primary roles in water governance, they may still be empowered by, receive advice from, or share information with government agencies and other actors. Polycentric groundwater governance can be supported by improving information, facilitating cooperation, endorsing standards, providing a legal framework for resolving conflicts and constituting governance agreements, and through polycentric social learning. Polycentric institutional artisanship by water users and their organizations can help find feasible solutions for improving groundwater governance. View Full-Text
Keywords: participatory groundwater governance; polycentric problem solving; institutional artisanship; farmer-led irrigation; community-based natural resource management; co-management; stakeholder engagement participatory groundwater governance; polycentric problem solving; institutional artisanship; farmer-led irrigation; community-based natural resource management; co-management; stakeholder engagement
MDPI and ACS Style

Bruns, B. Polycentric Solutions for Groundwater Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Encouraging Institutional Artisanship in an Extended Ladder of Participation. Water 2021, 13, 630. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050630

AMA Style

Bruns B. Polycentric Solutions for Groundwater Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Encouraging Institutional Artisanship in an Extended Ladder of Participation. Water. 2021; 13(5):630. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050630

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bruns, Bryan. 2021. "Polycentric Solutions for Groundwater Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Encouraging Institutional Artisanship in an Extended Ladder of Participation" Water 13, no. 5: 630. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050630

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