IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Decentralization of river basin management : a global analysis


  • Dinar, Ariel
  • Kemper, Karin
  • Blomquist, William
  • Diez, Michele
  • Sine, Gisele
  • Fru, William


Decentralization and increased stakeholder involvement have been major elements of water sector reform as ways to promote sustainable and integrated resource management particularly of river basins. Based on an analytical framework for relating decentralization and stakeholder involvement to improved river basin management, this paper infers several hypotheses about factors associated with greater or lesser likelihood of success of the decentralization process using data from 83 river basins worldwide. The results suggest that physical, political, economic, financial, and institutional characteristics of the basin do affect the process and the level of performance of the decentralization. In particular, the presence of water scarcity may be a stimulus to reform, uniting the stakeholders in the basin and leading to better performance; organized user groups push for the initiation of decentralization reforms but may be associated with costs to the process and difficulty of achieving decentralization; the existence of dispute resolution mechanisms supports stakeholder involvement and improves decentralization performance; where stakeholders accepted greater financial responsibility, complying with tariffs and contributing to the budget for basin management, the decentralization process and performance measures increased; basins with higher percentages of their budgets from external governmental sources benefited from better stability and support and it shows in the performance of the decentralization process.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3637

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bennett, Lynne Lewis, 2000. "The integration of water quality into transboundary allocation agreements Lessons from the southwestern United States," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 24(1), December.
    2. Lars-Erik Borge, 1996. "The Behavior of Bureaucrats and the Choice Between Single-Purpose and Multi-Purpose Authorities," Public Finance Review, , vol. 24(2), pages 173-191, April.
    3. Vermillion, D. L. & Garcés-Restrepo, C., 1998. "Impacts of Colombia's current irrigation management transfer program," IWMI Research Reports H023448, International Water Management Institute.
    4. Cerniglia, Floriana, 2003. "Decentralization in the public sector: quantitative aspects in federal and unitary countries," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 749-776, November.
    5. Oechssler, Jorg, 1997. "Decentralization and the coordination problem," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 119-135, January.
    6. Casella, Alessandra & Frey, Bruno, 1992. "Federalism and clubs : Towards an economic theory of overlapping political jurisdictions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 639-646, April.
    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.

    Cited by:

    1. van den Brink, René & van der Laan, Gerard & Moes, Nigel, 2012. "Fair agreements for sharing international rivers with multiple springs and externalities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 388-403.
    2. Dinar, Ariel & Kemper, Karin & Blomquist, William & Kurukulasuriya, Pradeep, 2006. "The Process and Performance of Decentralization of River Basin Resource Management: A Global Analysis," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21093, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. Abers, Rebecca Neaera, 2007. "Organizing for Governance: Building Collaboration in Brazilian River Basins," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1450-1463, August.
    4. Alessandra Sgobbi & Gregorio Fraviga, 2006. "Governance and Water Management: Progress and Tools in Mediterranean Countries," Working Papers 2006.151, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. Pande, Saket & van den Boom, Bart & Savenije, Hubert H.G. & Gosain, Ashvani K., 2011. "Water valuation at basin scale with application to western India," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(12), pages 2416-2428.
    6. Dinar, Ariel & Kemper, Karin & Blomquist, William & Kurukulasuriya, Pradeep, 2007. "Whitewater: Decentralization of river basin water resource management," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 851-867.


    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:wbk:wbrwps:3637. 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). 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.