IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Governance and Water Management: Progress and Tools in Mediterranean Countries


  • Alessandra Sgobbi

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

  • Gregorio Fraviga

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano)


This paper reviews the progress with respect to Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in Mediterranean countries, as addressed within the activities of the Nostrum-Dss project, a Coordination Action funded by the 6th Framework Programme of the EC, with a particular emphasis on the current use of decision support tools (DSS). The IWRM paradigm is a comprehensive management framework, which integrates the different aspects of water resources – from the underlying ecological and physical aspects, to the socio-economic values and needs (horizontal integration); and calls for increasing decentralisation and privatisation of water services (vertical integration), and the devolution of planning authority, without however forgetting the need to ensure equitable access to water resources. Substantial progress has been made in the last decades in Nostrum-Dss Partner countries, although a disparity can still be seen between the Northern and Southern banks. New institutions have been established for implementing IWRM, existing institutions have been reformed, and decision making processes increasingly require public participation. Decentralisation of decision making, implementation and monitoring are also well underway, although improvements are still needed to ensure that the traditional power structures do not prevail. More efficient technologies and infrastructures are in place, especially for the production of high value goods or in agriculture. Finally, several DSS have been developed: yet, while operational/technical DSS instruments have been successfully employed, DSSs tools developed in a participatory way, or tackling more complex, political as well as environmental and economic problems are still de-linked from actual decision making processes. Laws and regulations for water management in most Mediterranean countries embrace and support the paradigms of IWRM – and EU framework directives have played an important role in fostering this shift from more traditional, vertical governance to new, horizontal governance based on soft laws. Yet, the implementation of such laws and regulations is often only partial – often because of the lack of a clear monitoring and enforcement strategy, but also because of governments’ financial and human resources constraints. Strong overlaps of roles and competences among different government institutions remain, hampering effective implementation of water management. The tendency to centralisation of decision making persists, and actors’ involvement is scanty. The shift towards the use of demand side policies as opposed to supply side policies is not yet completed: yet, supply side policies are very costly, as they are based on greater mobilisation of financial resources. Full cost recovery pricing is not practiced widely. This reluctance to introduce full cost recovery pricing in developing countries may be due to ethical and moral considerations, but in developed countries it is often associated with strong lobbying power of interest groups. This study was supported by funding under the Sixth Research Framework of the European Union within the project "Network on Governance, Science and Technology for Sustainable Water Resource Management in the Mediterranean- The role of Dss tools” (NOSTRUM-Dss, contract number INCO-CT-2004-509158).

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandra Sgobbi & Gregorio Fraviga, 2006. "Governance and Water Management: Progress and Tools in Mediterranean Countries," Working Papers 2006.151, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2006.151

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dinar, Ariel & Kemper, Karin & Blomquist, William & Diez, Michele & Sine, Gisele & Fru, William, 2005. "Decentralization of river basin management : a global analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3637, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Integrated Water Resources Management; Decision Support Systems; Environmental Governance;

    JEL classification:

    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2006.151. 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: (barbara racah). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.