Based on a recognition of the need for more coordinated, holistic and inter-sectoral policy implementation, the study explores the lessons learned from developing and implementing new or better coordinated approaches to water governance. It provides an overview of current water governance arrangements in four countries, and examples of where these support effective and coherent implementation of the various EU directives linked to the water sector.
The study asks: Who are the key stakeholders? What is the division of responsibility between different sectors and scales? Are current administrative practices (management instruments) suitable for water governance? To what extent are transparency, public participation and accountability promoted in water resource management? What are the key measures used to promote participation?
The methodology uses a soft system approach that views the water sector as a whole. Changing one part of the system, or initiating one course of action, will create changes elsewhere in the system. In the case of water governance, given its broad definition, this presents a challenge. What particularly distinguishes the soft system approach is that it reveals and deals explicitly with the different world views of stakeholders.
The authors also present four case studies, of Spain, the UK, Finland and Estonia, and draw several key lessons:
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