This chapter reviews the conception and implementation of water governance by major international organizations and contrasts them with the multiplicity of water institutions and property rights found in most river basins. In contrast to the more top-down orientation of water governance, we propose a form of policy analysis that emphasizes a bottom-up approach, beginning with water users and extending through multiple levels of governance. Such an approach emphasizes problem solving, diverse property rights, the quality of linkages across organizations, and the role of courts in resolving conflicts and establishing the rule of law. We conclude by considering how sustainability may be realized in complex river basin settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationManagement of Water Resources
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780444531933
ISBN (Print)9780444531995
StatePublished - 2011


  • Common pool resources
  • Conflicts
  • Courts
  • Cross-scale linkages
  • IWRM
  • Policy analysis
  • Property rights
  • Rule of law
  • Sustainability
  • Water governance
  • Watersheds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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