Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector
International portal

News Social Participation in Water Governance and Management: Critical and Global Perspectives

Edited By Kate A. Berry and Eric Mollard

Social participation in water management and governance recently became a reality in many economies and societies. Yet the dimensions in which power regulation, social equity and democracy-building are connected with participation have been only tangentially analyzed for the water sector. Understanding the growing interest in social participation involves appreciating the specificity of the contemporary period within its historic and geographic contexts as well as uncovering larger political, economic and cultural trends of recent decades which frame participatory actions.

Within a wide variety of cases presented from around the world, the reader will find critical analyses of participation and an array of political ecological processes that influence water governance. Sixteen chapters from a diverse group of scholars and practitioners examine water rights definition, hydropower dam construction, urban river renewal, irrigation organizations, water development NGOs, river basin management, water policy implementation and judicial decision-making in water conflicts. Yet there are commonalities in participatory experiences across this spectrum of water issues. The book's five sections highlight key dimensions of contemporary water management that influence, and in turn are influenced by, social participation. These sections are: participation and indigenous water governance; participation and the dynamics of gender in water management; participation and river basin governance; participation and implementation of water management and participation and the politics of water governance.

'It is now largely assumed that participation is a necessary component of good water governance. This book provides a welcome examination of what social participation in water management really means, when it works and, as importantly, when it might not.'
Mark Giordano, International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka


Introduction: Social Participation in Water Management and Governance

Part I: Participation and Indigenous Water Governance

1. Participation of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe in Land and Water Management Decisions in Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada, U.S.

2. For Whom the Turbines Turn: Indigenous Citizens as Legitimate Stakeholders in the Brazilian Amazon

Part II: Participation and the Dynamics of Gender in Water Management

3. Gender and Participation in a Rural Water-Supply Organization in Rajasthan, India

4. Gendered Dynamics of Participation in Water Management in Nepal and Peru: Revisiting the Linkages between Membership and Power

Part III: Participation and River Basin Governance

5. Social Participation in French Water Management: Contributions to River Basin Governance and New Challenges

6. Social Participation in Mexican River Basin Organizations: The Resilience of Coalitions

7. From a Participative Framework to Communities' Realities: The Challenges of Implementing Stakeholder Involvement in Quebec Watershed Management, Canada

Part IV: Participation and Implementation of Water Management

8. Social Participation in the Irrigation Sector in Yunnan, China: Roles of the State, User Associations, and Communities

9. Participation in Water Resource and Service Governance in South Africa: Caught in the Acts

10. The Role of Locally-Managed Water Aid: Effective Partnerships in Sri Lanka

11. The Public's Role as Stakeholder in the Yarqon River Authority, Israel

Part V: Participation and the Politics of Governance

12. Water Rights and Rule-Making Justice as Fruits of Social Struggle in the Ecuadorian Andes

13. Water Management Practices on Trial: The Tribunal Latinoameicano del Agua and the Creation of Public Space for Social Participation in Water Politics

14. The Local Application of Global Sustainable and Participatory Development Norms in Turkish Dams

15. Conclusions



Kate Berry is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography, University of Nevada, Reno, USA.

Eric Mollard is Research Program Director at the Socio-Environmental Dynamics and Resource Governance Research Unit, French Research Institute for Development (IRD) in Montpellier .


Contact information n/a
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information Earth Scan
Keyword(s) Water Governance, Social Participation
Geographical coverage International
News date 01/02/2010
Working language(s) ENGLISH