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Water governance decentralization in Africa: a framework for reform process and performance analysis
Expanded Title:Over the past 20 years most African countries reformed their water laws and restructured their institutional and governance framework accordingly. For instance, South Africa (SA) voted its National Water Act (NWA) in 1998 leading to development of its National Water Resources Strategy (NWRS) in 2002. Zambia amended in 1994 its Water Act of 1970, Mozambique and Tanzania approved their National Water Policies, respectively, in 1995 and in 2002, and Namibia voted its Water Resource Management Act in 2004. While much effort and good will was put into decentralization reforms in many basins in the continent, results are not uniformly realized. For example, benefits from the implementation of such decentralization process were taken for granted during the design of the SA NWA. But sixteen years after the launch of the new national water policy only two Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs) have been established and are operational (i.e. Inkomati usutu and Breede Overberg), while many water user associations (WUAs) still struggle to find their place and role in the complex and sometimes confused context of water management in SA (Shreiner and Hassa, 2011; Chibwe, 2013). The process of decentralization in the water management institutions is even less advanced in other African countries. Mozambique for instance, implemented comprehensive decentralization reforms since the 1990s by progressively setting up Regional Water Administration entities (ARAs). The only ARA currently fully operational is ARA-Sul (South), responsible for the southern part of the country up to the Save river. As for the other regional water authorities, ARA-Centro is already functioning, but continues to rely on substantial support from the government, and ARA-Zambezi is newly established. ARA-centro-Norte and ARA-Norte have not yet been established (Matsinhe, 2012) Further in the continent, Tanzania provides another example where it became clear that decentralization without accompanying support measures can have negative results. Before decentralization there was a centralized technical department with regional branches that could help communities with their water systems. After decentralization, all the tasks at central level were reduced, on the assumption that district level departments would take them over. But there were no trained staff yet and no resources at the district level to do that work. As a result, technical support services to the communities collapsed (Sokile et al., 2005). The process of water management decentralization in African countries is seen as a means of advancing river basin management at the lowest appropriate level. The very different stages of advancement in the African river basins agencies indicate the difficulty of implementing decentralization in practice. It therefore seems necessary to understand why some water agencies have succeeded more than others, what are the variables involved in such reform process, which variables have a positive or a negative impact on the implementation of decentralization processes in the African water sector, and which variables could be affected by policy interventions and how. The purpose of this study is to contribute to filling this gap and attempt to address the above questions adapting to the African context an analytical framework developed and applied to similar situations elsewhere (Kemper et al., 2006). The analytical framework intends to capture the factors likely to be related to river basin management success and generate hypotheses that could be tested in actual settings where river basin management had been attempted. No similar quantitative analytical framework to investigate factors of success and failure of decentralized water governance has been applied to African catchments previously. The only examples of quantitative analysis to study water decentralization processes found in the literature are two case studies run in Albania and Ghana (IBRD/WB, 2007). The first study used stakeholder analysis, whilst the second one introduced network analysis. Several qualitative studies looked at decentralization of water management and services in SA (Saleth and Dinar, 2000; Backeberg, 2005; and Woodhouse, 2008) but no quantitative framework is proposed or applied so far.
Date Published:01/07/2014
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Water Resource Management/IWRM - Planning and development
Document Keywords:Governance, Policy and regulation
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:1969/1/14
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0583-7
Authors:Hassan R; Mtsweni A; Wilkinson M; Weston D; Mutundo J; Magagula T; Sithole P; Farolfi S; Dinar A
Project No:K5/1969
Organizations:University of Pretoria; Prime Africa Consultants; Pegasys, Pretoria; International Centre for Water Economics and Governance (IWEGA), Edwardo Mondlane University, Maputo; Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement; Water Science and Policy Centre, University of California
Document Size:1 544 KB
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