What is Water Governance?

Water governance refers to the political, social, economic and administrative systems in place that influence water’s use and management. Essentially, who gets what water, when and how, and who has the right to water and related services, and their benefits.

It determines the equity and efficiency in water resource and services allocation and distribution, and balances water use between socio-economic activities and ecosystems.

Governing water includes the formulation, establishment and implementation of water policies, legislation and institutions, and clarification of the roles and responsibilities of government, civil society and the private sector in relation water resources and services. The outcomes depend on how the stakeholders act in relation to the rules and roles that have been taken or assigned to them.

The water sector is a part of broader social, political and economic developments and is thus also affected by decisions by actors outside of the water sector.