Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Decentralizing water resource management : economic incentives, accountability, and assurance


Author Info

  • Easter, K. William
  • Hearne, Robert R.
  • DEC


Private sector involvement and user participation in water resource management are not new, say the authors. They give examples that demonstrate how willing users and the private sector are able to improve water use and play a larger role in water resources management. User participation and private sector involvement, if properly structured, can provide the incentives needed to stabilize and improve the efficiency of irrigation and water supply systems. They can add flexibility, transparency, and accountability and can reduce the state's administrative and financial burden. A 1989 World Bank review of 21 impact evaluations of irrigation projects, for example, found cost recovery to be excellent in those projects in which water management and operations and maintenance had been entrusted to water users. Greater private sector and user participation can effectively increase user responsibility for managing and financing water projects while freeing governments to focus on broader water resource management concerns. The authors provide examples of decentralized water management in developing country water supply and irrigation systems. Governments should: more actively regulate private sector exploitation of groundwater, especially for irrigation; take measures to encourage price competition among private suppliers of water for both domestic and agricultural uses; and play an active role in organizing water user associations, especially for irrigation and rural water supply systems, and in giving them technical assistance. As numerous examples highlight, such activities should be designed to reduce the transaction costs of organizing and to establish a sense of assurance and accountability within the water user community. Once this is done, the community can deal with problems associated with excludability and unwillingness to pay.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1219.

as in new window
Date of creation: 30 Nov 1993
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1219

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Water Supply and Sanitation Governance and Institutions; Water and Industry; Water Use; Water Conservation; Town Water Supply and Sanitation;


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Triche, Thelma, 1990. "Private participation in the delivery of Guinea's water supply services," Policy Research Working Paper Series 477, The World Bank.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Jinxia Wang & Jikun Huang & Zhigang Xu & Scott Rozelle & Hussain, Intizar & Biltonen, Eric & Qiuqiong Huang & Siwa Msangi, 2004. "Pro-poor intervention strategies in irrigated agriculture in Asia: poverty in irrigated agriculture: issues and options: China," IWMI Research Reports, International Water Management Institute H036150, International Water Management Institute.
  2. Johnsson, Rosa Maria Formiga & Kemper, Karin, 2005. "Institutional and policy analysis of river basin management : the Alto-Tiete river basin, Sao Paulo, Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3650, The World Bank.
  3. Huang, Qiuqiong & Rozelle, Scott & Msangi, Siwa & Huang, Jikun & Wang, Jinxia, 2003. "Water Management Reform And The Choice Of Contractual Form In Rural China," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) 22131, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1219. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.