Why is state-centered groundwater governance largely ineffective?: a review uri icon


  • Faced with severe groundwater depletion, many governments have opted to increase the power of the state. Despite calls for more inclusive governance and a role for groundwater users, modes of governance have tended to continue to rely on a diversity of policy tools and state-run strategies in the attempt to control groundwater (over)abstraction. Yet, around the world, the performance of state-centered governance has remained dismal. Beyond common difficulties in terms of data and financial or human resources, this article analyzes in greater depth the limited effectiveness of state groundwater policies that has been observed, emphasizing its political ramifications. The various aspects of weak monitoring and enforcement, as well as of the infamous "lack of political will," are considered from the perspective of the political economy of groundwater economies. Cases of relative success are then used to identify favorable drivers and contexts for effective state-centered groundwater governance. This article is categorized under: Human Water > Water Governance Engineering Water > Planning Water

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2019