This study aims to analyze the actors and institutions for public water supply governance in armed conflict areas of Rakhine State, Myanmar. Using Stakeholder Salience Theory and Institutional Analysis of data collected from four participatory workshops and interviews with 160 water stakeholders from the four townships in Rakhine State, the findings revealed that although the water supply system is managed and governed by the state water authorities with the involvement of many administrative, political, and sectoral technical agencies and organizations, the non-formal community organizations such as ethnic armed military and religious institutions also have a strong interest in water supply and are considered dangerous actors in the water supply governance process. Diverse water actors held different perspectives and perceptions of water supply quality and quantity because of their different power holdings and political and economic interests. The state actors seemed biased on their positive performance, demonstrating their satisfaction with the current water supply governance, while community, private sectors, and household water users instead showed their dissatisfaction with the quality and quantity of the current water supply system, but they stayed neutral about the water supply governance performance. The research showed the complexity and dynamics of water actors’ powers and interests in armed conflict areas. In addition, there is a lack of socio-technical and financial capacity for the investment and maintenance of water distribution and collection infrastructure and facility, as well as water quality and quantity monitoring and evaluation. The study appeals to the development and peacebuilding organizations working in conflict areas to promote adaptive governance for community learning and adaptation to social-political and environmental change over time.
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