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Special Issue "Governing Integrated Water Resources Management: Mutual Learning and Policy Transfer"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 April 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Oliver Fritsch

Murdoch University, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Environment and Conservation Cluster, 90 South Street, Murdoch WA, 6150, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +61 9360 6125
Interests: environmental politics and law; water governance; public participation; regulatory and environmental impact assessment and other forms of ex-ante policy appraisal; policy implementation and effectiveness
Guest Editor
Dr. David Benson

Environment and Sustainability Institute and Department of Politics, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, United Kingdom
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (0) 132 62 59415
Interests: EU environmental and energy policy; comparative water governance; public participation in environmental decision-making; circular economy; wastewater pollution remediation technologies; solar PV governance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has become a global paradigm for the governance of surface, coastal, and groundwaters. International bodies, such as the United Nations, the Global Water Partnership, and the European Union, have taken the lead to promote IWRM principles, and countries worldwide, both in the Global South and the Global North, have undertaken reforms to implement these principles and to restructure their domestic or regional water governance arrangements. However, the international transfer of IWRM principles raises a number of theoretical, empirical and normative questions. These relate to the causes, process and outcomes of policy transfer in the field of IWRM.

First, why do countries adopt IWRM principles and what mechanisms are in place to motivate and further the adoption of these principles in regional or national contexts? We invite contributions that apply, criticise, extend or revise existing approaches towards norm transfer and international norm adoption and explore them empirically in a water governance context.

Second, how does policy transfer in the field of IWRM take place across borders, levels and scales? We welcome submissions that unpack the process of norm adoption and norm application in the field of water and explore how IWRM principles travel between international organisations and the domestic sphere, between globally and domestically operating non-state actors and regional and national governments, but also between countries and national governments.

Third, what are the impacts of IWRM principles, once implemented, on domestic water governance, water quality and water supply—and how effective is IWRM in addressing critical water issues in specific countries?

This Special Issue invites contributions tackling any of these questions. However, manuscripts which take a comparative perspective and/or make use of theory and concepts are particularly welcome. Submissions may focus on specific aspects of IWRM, such as river basin planning, integration between water related sectors, economic valuation, public participation including gender inclusion, or take a holistic approach.

Dr. Oliver Fritsch
Dr. David Benson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Integrated Water Resources Management
  • IWRM
  • governance
  • policy transfer
  • public participation

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
IWRM through WFD Implementation? Drivers for Integration in Polycentric Water Governance Systems
Water 2019, 11(5), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11051063
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 20 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
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Abstract
This paper uses an empirical approach to explore what motivates the adoption of integrated water resources management (IWRM). The study compares cases of local implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) from five German federal states representing various types of local policy [...] Read more.
This paper uses an empirical approach to explore what motivates the adoption of integrated water resources management (IWRM). The study compares cases of local implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) from five German federal states representing various types of local policy addressees. Data were collected using policy analysis methods, including participatory observation and interviews with planners who had implemented WFD measures and conducted integration attempts of various types throughout the planning processes. The planning narratives on integration were analysed iteratively and its characteristics, drivers, and hampering factors were identified. It was found that policy addressees attempt integration due to the incentives for reaching their goals rather than according to their paradigms. Depending on the power relations, incentives result in the integration of different actors during different planning phases. The findings suggest that in order to strategically induce integration, it would be necessary to enhance the incentives based on a detailed knowledge of power relations. The WFD as a general regulatory framework was found not to be a driver for local integration, but the WFD did induce increased integrated management through setting goals. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Participatory Water Governance and Organisational Change: Implementing the Water Framework Directive in England and Wales
Water 2019, 11(5), 996; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11050996
Received: 13 April 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
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Abstract
Public participation is central to the IWRM discourse and often associated with claims of improved environmental policy outputs and their implementation. Whilst the involvement of nonstate actors in environmental decision-making has attracted scholarly attention from various angles, our knowledge is scant as to [...] Read more.
Public participation is central to the IWRM discourse and often associated with claims of improved environmental policy outputs and their implementation. Whilst the involvement of nonstate actors in environmental decision-making has attracted scholarly attention from various angles, our knowledge is scant as to the forces that drive organisational reform towards participatory governance. This article sets out to contribute to this largely neglected research area and explores conditions under which policy-makers would be willing to attend towards more participative water governance. Its ambition is twofold: first, to explore the conditions under which public officials attempt to institutionalise more participatory modes of water governance. To this end, I analyse the implementation of the Directive’s active involvement provision in England and Wales. For many decades, water management in England and Wales had a reputation for being a technocratic exercise. In the past 15 years, however, the Environment Agency has made considerable efforts to lay the foundation for enhanced stakeholder participation. Second, with reference to the case of England and Wales, this study contributes to understanding the difficulties that reformers may meet when it comes to building support within an organisation and to implementing reforms towards participatory governance. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Governance for Sustainability of Estuarine Areas—Assessing Alternative Models Using the Case of Ria de Aveiro, Portugal
Water 2019, 11(4), 846; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040846
Received: 29 January 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 16 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
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Abstract
Estuaries are one of the most productive and complex types of ecosystems supporting a wide range of economic activities. Departing from a set of governance problems and emergent goals, such as sustainability or climate change adaptation faced by an estuarine case study area, [...] Read more.
Estuaries are one of the most productive and complex types of ecosystems supporting a wide range of economic activities. Departing from a set of governance problems and emergent goals, such as sustainability or climate change adaptation faced by an estuarine case study area, Ria de Aveiro, in Portugal, this article assesses the adequacy of alternative governance models under the existing water resources legal framework and traditional political culture. It shows that apart from the centrally-based compliance model, all other alternatives require high degrees of institutional reforms. Moreover, although the model based on a dedicated new agency, long preferred by many users of Ria de Aveiro, is the most understandable and focused, it does not assure the pursuance of adaptability or collaboration, which are considered essential for estuary governance. As it relies on collective action and multi-level and multi-agent contexts, estuarine governance may require a new institutional design. Where one begins a process of institutional change, however, is not a simple issue to address and demands a deeper analysis, particularly on the types of required institutional changes, as well as on their impacts on policy and decision-making outcomes over estuarine environments and associated socio-ecological networks. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Coordination and Participation Boards under the European Water Framework Directive: Different Approaches Used in Some EU Countries
Water 2019, 11(4), 833; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040833
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 9 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
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Abstract
River basin planning under the European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/CE, WFD) poses two major challenges to EU countries: coordination among administrative units for large-scale river basin planning and the inclusion of interested parties in decision-making processes. To face both challenges, many Member States [...] Read more.
River basin planning under the European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/CE, WFD) poses two major challenges to EU countries: coordination among administrative units for large-scale river basin planning and the inclusion of interested parties in decision-making processes. To face both challenges, many Member States have established Coordination and Participation Boards at the River Basin District or river basin level. These boards can be defined as multi-agency and multi-actor groups that support the development of inclusive and coordinated river basin planning to comply with the WFD requirements. The aim of this paper is to understand the functioning and effectiveness of the coordination and participation boards in promoting participatory river basin planning in seven EU countries. We built a conceptual framework, based on spatial fit, coordination capacity and participatory governance theories, to assess the scale at which these boards are established as well as the type of coordination and participation they support. The results indicate the relevance of the sub-River Basin District level to promote participatory decision-making. However, a clear linkage between participatory processes conducted at the sub-district level and decision-making processes at River Basin District should be established. Only if this link is well established are the outcomes achieved through the coordination and participation boards included in river basin plans. Moreover, we identified a lack of knowledge on how planning and implementation activities carried out at sub-River Basin District are aggregated and coordinated for the entire District. Research could contribute to this issue, by focusing on coordination mechanisms and problems that occur at the River Basin District level. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Urban Water Management and Water Security: A Comparison of Singapore and Hong Kong
Water 2019, 11(4), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040785
Received: 17 January 2019 / Revised: 7 March 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
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Abstract
Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) has emerged in the past two decades as a promising approach to the application of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles at the city-level. IUWM is expected to contribute to the achievement of multiple policy objectives, often including [...] Read more.
Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) has emerged in the past two decades as a promising approach to the application of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles at the city-level. IUWM is expected to contribute to the achievement of multiple policy objectives, often including increased water security. This paper uses a case-based approach to study the impact of IUWM on water security, focusing on the influence of the level of institutionalization of IUWM within water governance at the city-level. Process tracing is applied to the cases of Singapore and Hong Kong, in which IUWM has been adopted but implementation and outcomes have diverged. We find that the depth of institutionalization, a difference between the two cases identified at the outset, has contributed to the achievement of better water security outcomes in Singapore as it has facilitated the development and implementation of a more far-reaching strategy. A supportive governance framework appears to amplify the impact of IUWM on progress towards water security and other policy targets. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Governance Arrangements for Integrated Water Resources Management in Ontario, Canada, and Oregon, USA: Evolution and Lessons
Water 2019, 11(4), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040663
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 24 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
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Abstract
Guidelines produced by some major international organisations create a misleading impression that Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) can be implemented in a standardized fashion. However, contextual conditions vary from place to place, and differences in beliefs, attitudes, customs, and norms sensibly influence interpretation [...] Read more.
Guidelines produced by some major international organisations create a misleading impression that Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) can be implemented in a standardized fashion. However, contextual conditions vary from place to place, and differences in beliefs, attitudes, customs, and norms sensibly influence interpretation and implementation. Experiences with IWRM in Oregon (USA) and Ontario (Canada) are examined with regard to scope, scale, responsibility, engagement, finances and financing, and review processes and mechanisms. Development of IWRM and the evolution of governance have been shaped by different concerns and beliefs. Oregon has adopted a locally-driven and entrepreneurial approach, whereas Ontario developed a co-operative inter-governmental approach. In both cases, IWRM governance has also evolved due to changes in funding and priorities, which have benefitted some catchments and communities more than others. Both cases provide positive examples of reflexivity and resilience, and demonstrate the importance of review processes and strong cross-scale connections for effective governance. While underlying principles may be relevant for other locations, it would be a mistake to think that either of the two approaches for IWRM could be replicated elsewhere in their exact form. Implementation of IWRM in other parts of those countries and the world should, therefore, start with careful analysis of the local context, and existing governance arrangements and governmentalities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Governing Integration: Insights from Integrating Implementation of European Water Policies
Water 2019, 11(3), 598; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030598
Received: 26 December 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (259 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Integrated water resource management (IWRM) is a well-established goal, but there is little evidence about processes of integration linked to water policies. To address this, in 2016–2018 we used a content analysis, a survey and interviews with key actors leading the creation of [...] Read more.
Integrated water resource management (IWRM) is a well-established goal, but there is little evidence about processes of integration linked to water policies. To address this, in 2016–2018 we used a content analysis, a survey and interviews with key actors leading the creation of plans to implement Europe’s Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive. We explored whether and how implementation of these policies is being coordinated and reflect on implications for integrated water governance. We found a strong emphasis on achieving integration via coordination. Our interviews brought particular attention to the resources and capacities needed to improve collaboration across teams, including but not limited to information-sharing. Our study gives insight into practical approaches that may support coordination and hence integration of different policy goals for water management: however further theoretically-informed study to track these and other processes is required, as work to connect policy integration with IWRM is still in its infancy. Full article
Open AccessArticle
How to Enhance the Role of Science in European Union Policy Making and Implementation: The Case of Agricultural Impacts on Drinking Water Quality
Water 2019, 11(3), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030492
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 4 March 2019 / Accepted: 5 March 2019 / Published: 8 March 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1463 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Throughout the European Union (EU), high concentrations of nitrates and pesticides are among the major polluting components of drinking water and have potential long-term impacts on the environment and human health. Many research projects co-funded by the European Commission have been carried out, [...] Read more.
Throughout the European Union (EU), high concentrations of nitrates and pesticides are among the major polluting components of drinking water and have potential long-term impacts on the environment and human health. Many research projects co-funded by the European Commission have been carried out, but the results often do not influence policy making and implementation to the extent that is duly justified. This paper assesses several issues and barriers that weaken the role of science in EU policy making and EU policy implementation in the case of agricultural impacts on drinking water quality. It then proposes improvements and solutions to strengthen the role of science in this process. The analysis is conceptual but supported empirically by a desk study, a workshop, and complementary individual interviews, mostly with representatives of organizations working at the EU level. The results indicate that perceived barriers are mostly observed on the national or regional level and are connected with a lack of political will, scarce instruction on the legislation implementation process, and a lack of funding opportunities for science to be included in policy making and further EU policy implementation. In response to that, we suggest translating scientific knowledge on technological, practical or environmental changes and using dissemination techniques for specific audiences and in local languages. Further, the relationship between data, information and decision making needs to change by implementing monitoring in real-time, which will allow for the quick adaptation of strategies. In addition, we suggest project clustering (science, policy, stakeholders, and citizens) to make science and research more connected to current policy challenges and stakeholder needs along with citizen involvement with an aim of establishing sustainable long-term relationships and communication flows. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Between Emulation and Assemblage: Analysing WFD Policy Transfer Outcomes in Turkey
Water 2019, 11(2), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020324
Received: 11 November 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2019 / Accepted: 7 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
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Abstract
Turkey’s protracted European Union (EU) accession process has resulted in the transfer of environmental policy, primarily the water acquis. Despite a recent reversal in accession negotiations, this process is continuing and has thereby resulted in the active Europeanisation of Turkish water policy. However, [...] Read more.
Turkey’s protracted European Union (EU) accession process has resulted in the transfer of environmental policy, primarily the water acquis. Despite a recent reversal in accession negotiations, this process is continuing and has thereby resulted in the active Europeanisation of Turkish water policy. However, the resultant pattern of Europeanisation remains poorly understood with questions arising as to whether policy transfer is leading to significant convergence with EU policy, or if a uniquely Turkish hybrid system of water governance is emerging. The paper therefore provides an analysis of transfer outcomes from the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), using eight core institutional features: identification of river basins; transboundary cooperation; environmental objectives setting; characterisation of river basins; monitoring; cost recovery and water pricing; river basin management planning; and public participation. While analysis of legal frameworks and their implementation shows many areas of emulation, some features of the WFD in Turkey are an amalgam of pre-existing water institutions, the mimetic influence of integrated water resources management (IWRM) norms, EU policy and changing national water policy priorities: what we call assembled emulation. This observation has implications for future studies on policy transfer, Europeanisation, IWRM and Turkish accession. Full article
Open AccessArticle
How to Sustain Fisheries: Expert Knowledge from 34 Nations
Water 2019, 11(2), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020213
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 14 January 2019 / Accepted: 15 January 2019 / Published: 27 January 2019
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Abstract
Ensuring productive and sustainable fisheries involves understanding the complex interactions between biology, environment, politics, management and governance. Fisheries are faced with a range of challenges, and without robust and careful management in place, levels of anthropogenic disturbance on ecosystems and fisheries are likely [...] Read more.
Ensuring productive and sustainable fisheries involves understanding the complex interactions between biology, environment, politics, management and governance. Fisheries are faced with a range of challenges, and without robust and careful management in place, levels of anthropogenic disturbance on ecosystems and fisheries are likely to have a continuous negative impact on biodiversity and fish stocks worldwide. Fisheries management agencies, therefore, need to be both efficient and effective in working towards long-term sustainable ecosystems and fisheries, while also being resilient to political and socioeconomic pressures. Marine governance, i.e., the processes of developing and implementing decisions over fisheries, often has to account for socioeconomic issues (such as unemployment and business developments) when they attract political attention and resources. This paper addresses the challenges of (1) identifying the main issues in attempting to ensure the sustainability of fisheries, and (2) how to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and governance of marine systems. Utilising data gained from a survey of marine experts from 34 nations, we found that the main challenges perceived by fisheries experts were overfishing, habitat destruction, climate change and a lack of political will. Measures suggested to address these challenges did not demand any radical change, but included extant approaches, including ecosystem-based fisheries management with particular attention to closures, gear restrictions, use of individual transferable quotas (ITQs) and improved compliance, monitoring and control. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysing the Role of Visions, Agency, and Niches in Historical Transitions in Watershed Management in the Lower Mississippi River
Water 2018, 10(12), 1845; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121845
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1195 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyses five major transitions in watershed management in the Lower Mississippi River from the early 19th century to the present. A conceptual framework is developed for analysing the role of visions, agency, and niches in water management transitions and applied to [...] Read more.
This paper analyses five major transitions in watershed management in the Lower Mississippi River from the early 19th century to the present. A conceptual framework is developed for analysing the role of visions, agency, and niches in water management transitions and applied to a historical case on water management in the Lower Mississippi River. It is shown that water management regimes change over time and that major transitions were preceded by niches, in which new visions were developed and empowered. The case shows that: (i) emerging visions play an important role in guiding transitions; (ii) agency enables the further diffusion of visions and niches; (iii) vision champions play an important role in transitions, but are not decisive; (iv) each transition has led to an extension of the number of societal functions provided, which has led to more complex water management regimes in which functions are combined and integrated; and (v) external landscape factors are important, as they can lead to awareness and urgency in important decision making processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Global IWRM Ideas and Local Context: Studying Narratives in Rural Cambodia
Water 2018, 10(11), 1643; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10111643
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 10 November 2018 / Published: 13 November 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (574 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article investigates how the “constructivist turn” in public policy and international political economy informs the interaction of global ideas and local practice in water governance. We use the implementation of ideas associated with Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the Lower Mekong [...] Read more.
This article investigates how the “constructivist turn” in public policy and international political economy informs the interaction of global ideas and local practice in water governance. We use the implementation of ideas associated with Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the Lower Mekong river basin. This article provides some explanation of the attitudes in the villages in Cambodia due to the Sesan 2 Dam, which would see the relocation of thousands of people, damage fisheries, and inflict high coping costs on villagers. Based on 24 in-depth interviews with villagers, commune heads and local community leaders, we find diverse narratives which transcend the “pro or anti” dam narrative. We find four narrative types—myths, stories, noise and informed opinion, which relate to each other in degrees of social meaning and ideational force. Of these, the first two are more likely to be useful in terms of mobilization and policy-making. This typology provides a framework for analysis of social change in the studied villages and other contexts of policy translation. We should state that these four types are not separate from each other but are linked along two axis which together conscribe the four types of narratives outlined. Full article
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