This report describes the first stage of a project that is comparing water governance in southern Australia, South Africa, southwest USA and Spain. The river systems examined are subject to highly variable climates and have a long history of drought management. Underlying assumptions are that the stress of drought reveals strengths and weaknesses in institutional systems that are often hidden in wetter times and that the way a given management system responds to drought is a good indication of how it will respond to climate change. This is a study of the past to prepare for the future. The report also outlines a proposed governance evaluation framework which focuses in particular on the impact of federal political systems. The capacity to manage large rivers that cross borders within federal systems is almost invariably at threat from ongoing intergovernmental and interagency conflict, low decision making transparency and accountability, high transaction costs and ad hoc deals between competing governments, and between them and powerful stakeholders. The aim of the evaluation framework – as it develops over the course of the project – will be to highlight transaction costs and governance features that work well. The river catchments investigated by this project are all in the midst of major water reform programs, albeit with different aims under different circumstances. The report makes some tentative comments about the way these reform programs are progressing.
|Commissioning body||Centre for Water Economics, Environment and Policy|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|