Performance and Capacity of River Basin Organizations


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Key issues: IWRM Planning | National Water and Sanitation Planning | Decentralization of Water Decision Making

Experience and Case Studies:

Other articles:

Performance and Capacity of River Basin Organizations | River Basin Organizations | River basin councils | IWRM - Sustainable Water Governance on the National Level

Publication Title

Performance and Capacity of River Basin Organizations: Cross-case Comparison of Four RBOs

Publication Type



Publication Date

February 2008


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Since the International Conference on Water and the Environment in Dublin in 1992, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has emerged as driving concept behind the management of water resources. The Global Water Partnership (2000) has defined IWRM as “a process, which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems”.

Although the concept of IWRM has been generally accepted, the actual implementation of IWRM has proven more difficult. Evidence suggests that the performance of recently established river basin organizations, with the aim of implementing IWRM, has been disappointing. Moreover, there appears to be widespread uncertainty about the role and functions of river basin organizations when it comes to the implementation of IWRM.

The objective of the ‘Study on the performance and capacity of national river basin organisations’ is to address these issues and to identify priority capacity building actions and strategies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of RBOs. For this purpose, four RBO case studies were conducted, and major strengths, weaknesses, problems and successes in the implementation of the RBO’s roles and responsibilities towards sustainable management of water resources, were recorded and analysed.


Table of contents

I. Summary

Main Report

1. Introduction 10

1.1 Objective of Study

2. River Basin Organizations 11

2.1 Types of RBOs
2.2 Problems in the River Basin ans Institutioanl Responses
2.3 Performance of RBOs

3. Cases and research methodology 21

3.1 Case studies
3.2 Standardized Framework

4. Performance Assessment 24

4.1 Legal Framework
4.2 Level of Autonomy
4.3 Effectiveness of the RBOs
4.4 Involvement of Stakeholdes
4.5 Financing RBO activities
4.6 Conclusion

5. Capacity building in the water sector 34

5.1 Enhancing local capacities
5.2 Enhancing the knowledge base
5.3 The process of capacity development in practice
5.4 Where do the capacity gaps for the four case studies lie?
5.5 Principles for the development of capacity building activities

6. ANNEX 1: Mahaweli Ganga River Basin, Sri Lanka 42

6.1 River Basin Overview
6.2 River Basin Organization
6.3 Performance
6.4 Conclusion

7. ANNEX 2: Sungai Langat River Basin , Malaysia 47

7.1 River Basin Overview
7.2 River Basin Organization
7.3 Performance Assessment
7.4 Conclusion

8. ANNEX 3: Tana River Basin, Kenya 53

8.1 River Basin Overview
8.2 River Basin Organization
8.3 Performance Assessment
8.4 Conclusion

9. ANNEX 4: Lerma-Chapala-Santiago River Basin , Mexico 60

9.1 River Basin Overview
9.2 River Basin Organization
9.3 Performance Assessment
9.4 Conclusion


See also

External Resources


 Final RBO Performance and Capacity.doc

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