Organizational arrangements

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There are five broad areas of organizational responsibility for water resources management: (a) planning and coordination, (b) design and construction, (c) regulation, (d) social and environmental action, and (e) operations management. Governments can use a range of instruments to discharge responsibilities in these areas and it is impossible to prescribe the best formula for all contexts. The ultimate organizational form will have to suit the country's own political, cultural and administrative norms and practices. However, three major considerations should be kept in mind:

Planning at different levels is needed for effective water resources management. Planning involves (a) collecting data on water quantity and quality, (b) properly analysing and disseminating the data, (c) establishing water supply and demand balances, (d) identifying areas for long-term water development and management at the national, provincial or basin level, and (e) determining drought and flood protection needs. In institutional analysis, the focus should be on assessing the effectiveness of planning agencies and the mechanisms for ensuring technical inputs, economic analysis and stakeholder participation. Institutional assessment would also focus on evaluating the capacity of existing institutions to undertake water planning exercises on a continuous basis.

Design and construction has been a major activity of many water-sector agencies. This is a specialized technical function that has long been a source of power and pride for these agencies. Increasingly, however, emphasis is being placed on management of resources rather than on new construction. The transition from a civil engineering to a water management agency is difficult and is fraught with political and organizational pitfalls. The water resources assessment should carefully evaluate the extent of coordination of all water agencies and their respective forward plans.

Coordination is a key aspect of planning and management. Several economic sectors and many water users are involved in water allocation and their actions need to be coordinated within an overall water resources management framework. The question is how to bring the sectors together. Some countries have established inter-ministerial water councils for planning purposes, with leadership from planning or finance ministries to avoid the bias of a particular user sector (such as irrigation, which is the dominant sector in many cases). These councils also include representatives of the community at large to ensure participation of NGOs and trade and professional associations. Similar mechanisms can also be established at the level of river or drainage basins.

Coordinated management action is important with respect to surface water and groundwater, examples being in release schedules from dams, conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater, and urban wastewater disposal.

The question of restructuring incentives in the irrigation and municipal water supply and other water-related sectors is a crucial institutional question in attempting to improve O&M, and to link quality of service to payment of user charges. A number of alternatives to government provision of services are available. The 'utility' model is one which focuses on a single purpose of delivering a measurable service to users and has been adopted in developed and in some developing countries. Various types of private-sector participation are possible. Service contracts empower a contractor to provide a specific service. Management contracts ensure that the contractor assumes responsibility for managing, operating and maintaining all or part of a water system. Lease contracts earn the government rent for use of facilities with the contractor assuming full responsibility for operations. Concessions add a level of responsibility to the contractor in that he invests in additional capital facilities and is responsible for associated debt service. 'Build, operate and transfer' programmes require a public or private agency that builds and operates the facilities after commissioning and then hands over the management to a designated agency. A variant on this is the 'build, own, operate and transfer' programme, where temporary ownership of the facility by the builder may have favourable financial consequences. User organizations that contract with a government agency or manage a certain part of the water system are another option.

Institutional analysis during the water resources assessment phase of strategy formulation affords an opportunity to examine the participation and roles of NGOs in water resources planning and implementation. Representatives of these organizations should be included among the stakeholders consulted during the strategy formulation process, because they may ultimately be involved in strategy and project implementation. Two types of NGOs with a useful role to play are community organizations and professional associations.

Community organizations

There is an established history of community involvement in the design, management and maintenance of projects, particularly in irrigation and in water supply and sanitation. Community involvement can be in the form of membership (user) organizations and non-membership assistance or activist groups. Community involvement in sectorial and strategic planning and management is much rarer, but it is increasingly thought to be important, although gender and equity issues are complex in this context. A strategy review should consult community organizations and incorporate them into the planning and management framework at appropriate levels.

Professional associations

National and international non-governmental professional associations have long played an important role in enhancing the capacity of industrialized countries in the water sector. They have contributed in many ways.

While well established in the industrialized countries, professional associations are weak in most developing countries. Important contributions to national capacity building in the water sector can come from initiatives by international professional associations. Relevant examples include the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), which deals mostly with irrigation and drainage issues; the International Water Supply Association, which operates on technical issues in the water supply subsector; and the International Association for Water Quality, which covers the sanitation subsector. The International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) assists national associations involved in irrigation.


Human resources development

Frequently, the organizational arrangements in the water sector are less important than the people who staff it, and sound institutions with high quality human resources should be the target to provide the best assurance of achieving policy objectives. HRD covers all actions necessary to develop a qualified and motivated staff in organizations at all levels, and includes training and education; staffing plans; career and salary development; and the creation of a stimulating personnel environment within organizations.

Although both training and education are essential instruments in long-term capacity building, they have different purposes and time scales. Training is aimed at specific problems, implies shorter contact times and attempts to offer directly applicable skills. Education has a broader remit, covering factual knowledge, insight, applicable methodologies and professional attitude. Twenty years of UN-related experience has led to calls for a fresh look at the educational aspects of HRD. The continuing rise in population and urban concentration call for an increase in numbers of professionals as well as enhancement of their technical and managerial skills, in addition to better conceptual and strategic capabilities. An unequalled demand for provision of new urban infrastructure is forecast over the coming two decades, which will entail rapidly increasing technical and multi-disciplinary complexity. Sector professionals will need to be better prepared for these challenges and this implies that:

Estimates of both available and required skills should be made during the water resources assessment. Training needs should be geared to long- and short-term institutional objectives. General skill areas that could be evaluated include technical (e.g., fisheries specialists, hydrologists and toxicologists), managerial and cross-disciplinary skills (e.g., economists and ecologists).

Many water-related educational and research programmes can be commissioned from local universities and other educational institutions. A common practice is to have a utility provide the university with funds for senior students to undertake tasks important to the utility, so that all parties benefit. The worth of training may be eroded if individuals are placed in an environment that does not utilize or support their education and therefore staffing patterns must be well understood and opportunities for promotion increased and made commensurate with merit.

There are also a number of international training initiatives, such as the International Training Network (ITN), which provides resources that can assist countries in their own training efforts. The ITN is a product of the UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme, and currently has nine members in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.


Stakeholder participation

Definition and benefits of stakeholder participation
Who are stakeholders?
Levels and techniques of participation
Stakeholder participation during strategy formulation

Here stakeholder participation is brought forward as a two-way communication process and an integral part of the overall formulation process to identify and as far as possible to reconcile the interests at stake, to produce a well-informed base for water management strategies.

Acknowledging that there could be possible constraints to the participatory process, it continues with identifying stakeholders and the different levels of participation. Finally the chapter provides suggestions on appropriate means to involve and consult stake holders during the different phases of the water management strategy formulation process.


Definition and benefits of stakeholder participation

Many water resources policy-makers and project managers are familiar with the concepts and techniques of community involvement in water resources projects, at both the design and implementation stages. Stakeholder participation in formulating a strategy for water resources management has many similar aspects. The variety of stakeholders in national water resources policy is of course broader, as is the variety of issues. Stakeholder participation is the process of involving those who are affected by and thus have an interest in water resources, and hence in the formulation of water strategy. It is a two-way communication process that explicitly seeks to identify and to clarify the interests at stake, with the ultimate aim of producing a well-informed water management strategy that has a good chance of being implemented. Stakeholder involvement should be an integral part of the process of developing a strategy, mainly because it can:

At least two activities are involved in stakeholder participation: the identification of stakeholders, and securing stakeholder contributions to a water resources strategy. Building commitment to and ownership of water strategies will depend on satisfying interested parties in several ways: substantive, procedural and psychological.

In certain situations there may be barriers to effective stakeholder participation in the form of cost, access and prevailing cultural norms. This chapter presents the principles and methods that are desirable, but those developing water resources strategies will have to bear the responsibility of deciding the limits of practicable participation within constraints of cost, time and a realistic assessment of the likely value of the outcomes. Some governments have committed considerable funding to community-developed plans for water resources management, such as the salinity action plans and catchment management boards in Australia. Many other countries, or their agencies, do not have such commitments or traditions and may be suspicious of the motives and intentions of community participation, but world-wide experience increasingly illustrates the benefits that it can offer.


Who are stakeholders?

Stakeholders can be individuals, organizations or groups. Stakeholders include:

A variety of methods can be used to identify stakeholders. Three of the simplest approaches are self-identification, third-party identification, and identification by the strategy team. Self-identification simply means that individuals or groups step forward and indicate an interest in participating. Third-party identification uses knowledgeable parties, such as existing advisory committees, informal or formal community leaders, and representatives of known interests, to suggest people or organizations that should be included. Identification by the strategy team relies on the team systematically identifying and approaching stakeholders. Social impact assessment, EIA, financial analysis and gender analysis can all help to identify stakeholders. The team should identify those parties essential to implementing projects, those who are benefitting or will benefit from water projects, and those who are bearing project costs and impacts. Most importantly, people who would be affected by water strategy, but do not yet know that they will be affected, should be identified. Stakeholder participation is a means of giving them a voice.


Levels and techniques of participation

Different stakeholders will seek different levels of involvement and various categories can be defined. Listeners are those who need to be informed but do not feel a need to be actively involved in policies and projects. Observers, while not actively involved, are watching the policy assessment process and may become active if access to information is cut off or if they are surprised by events in the assessment. Reviewers actively watch the assessment process and will review ideas and materials. Advisers contribute their own time and energy and are willing to be actively involved. Their high level of interest and concern must be matched by equally high commitment and efforts by the water strategy team. Originators are so involved that they help create options. This is a high level of involvement and may be difficult to sustain. Decision-makers are stakeholders who seek a level of involvement where they have a vote in or some control over the decisions made.

Figure 4 illustrates various levels of involvement with examples of participation techniques appropriate to each level. The lower levels of participation are characterized by traditional public information programmes and public hearings. These are typically techniques that emphasize one-way communication. Moving up, techniques such as task forces, workshops that may involve a neutral person to keep them focused (a facilitator) and collaborative problem solving are emphasized. Typically these are techniques that emphasize two-way communication and often use the neutral assistance of facilitators to help shape the process, but not the substance, of dialogue. The high end of the scale includes structured techniques designed to produce consensus, agreement, or resolution, such as conciliation, mediation, and arbitration.

FIGURE 4 Levels of stakeholder participation and examples of participation techniques


Stakeholder participation during strategy formulation

The strategy team might consider using citizen and technical advisory committees. The team should be clear about the role of such committees, as it could easily rely too much on them and not attempt to reach more stakeholders directly. One interesting form of citizen committee is a planning group which, like advisory committees, may be expensive. In a planning group, a cross-section of stakeholders is chosen randomly to work on a problem or policy issue for a short period. They are often paid and should have full access to key information and to decision makers. Their activities are highly visible and may yield a report to be considered by decision makers.

Phase 1

Phase 1 (see Chapter 3) of formulating a water sector strategy involves preparing an inventory of information and experience while identifying and analysing the major issues in the water sector.

At minimum, the water sector strategy team should decide what information is needed from and what information should be given to various stakeholders. Also, public awareness should be generated at the start of the process. Stakeholder involvement can be particularly valuable in providing and reviewing available data and determining priorities for data-gathering. Stakeholders are the best judges of their own interests and are thus the best sources of data about them. Since they will ultimately have some say in the viability of water policy options and since that discussion will to some degree revolve around data issues, early stakeholder agreement about the information base will be critical. Even if stakeholders produce data similar to that from other sources, their involvement will produce some affiliation with the data base. Because an ideal data base can be fashioned only rarely stakeholder participation will help to decide which gaps in the data base are the most important to fill. This approach is likely to produce conflicting data. This often highlights the subjectivity of some types of data and can uncover important and contentious issues early in the consultation process.

In the identification and analysis of issues, it is important to go beyond a list of needs and to understand the interests behind those needs. While representatives of stakeholders can provide a list of issues, needs and priorities, the assessment should go further and try to reach stakeholders directly. The most effective method at each stage is a focused workshop that is attended by the water sector assessment team. Surveys and questionnaires are most effective when used together with more direct participatory techniques.

Between Phases 1 and 2

Between Phase 1 and Phase 2, the strategy team and decision-makers must take stock of results and decide whether they should proceed with the water sector assessment. The team should seek clear direction, if not agreement, from stakeholders about the path of the assessment and publicize their findings. The water strategy team could also hold a series of evaluation workshops to help determine if the strategy process should proceed and whether more information is needed, as well as giving some early indications of what type of options and scenarios should be used.

Phase 2

Phase 2 begins by developing options and is where stakeholders can contribute creatively. Stakeholders and team members should review what they have learned and reduce the number of strategic options under consideration. This can be done using small workshops and selected stakeholder representatives.

Once options have been developed, they should be evaluated using both process and analytical techniques. Delphi techniques - where stakeholders are asked to independently create and evaluate options which are given back to them for re-evaluation - can be used to narrow the range of opinions about options. Simulations and other decision-support tools provide new possibilities for meaningful stakeholder participation. Assisted negotiation techniques (mediation, facilitation and collaborative problem solving) can also be used here.

Public meetings or hearings are appropriate at the conclusion of Phase 2. If there has been effective participation, few surprises should emerge at this stage and perhaps there will be agreement on proposed actions. At minimum, these meetings would affirm areas of, and reasons for, agreement and disagreement. Stakeholder participation is as much an art as a science, and considerable judgement is required.


Information systems

Justification and rationale
Elements of a water resources management information system
Improving water resources information systems
The effect of technology on institutions

The focus of this chapter is the importance of a water resources information system in estimating the quantity and quality of water available, as well a; the current and prospective water use and demand patterns. The goal of this section is to assist in preparing an information system assessment in order both to develop a water resources management strategy and to design or improve a system.

The discussion covers not only the collection and analysis of data but also which data are available and how they are disseminated, i.e., how the data are collected, analysed and shared. Information is a vital element in many - if not most - aspects of integrated water resources management, but particularly in the institutional, international and economic areas.


Justification and rationale

The need to revitalize and modernize an information system normally arises at a stage in the development of water resources when some of the following characteristics manifest themselves:

• there is an increasing scarcity of water, resulting in unacceptable competition and conflict,
• riparian rights are becoming a major issue,
• costs of developing new water supplies are rising,
• the economic values of stream flows are increasing,
• environmental and health concerns are increasing, or
• floods and droughts are increasingly prevalent.

When the efficient allocation of water depends on the analysis of more information than the government has available, there is a need to evaluate and improve the water resources information systems. Uninformed or inadequate decision making will eventually paralyse both the public and private sectors as different economic sectors or different countries compete fiercely for water. In addition to helping form a strategy to manage water, information technology - with its 'decision-aiding systems' - can assist the efficient management and allocation of water in rapidly changing supply and demand conditions.

Decision-makers will be better able to form sustainable water resources management strategies if they are provided with credible historical information on water resources. Implementing strategies will depend on timely information for day-to-day management decisions.


Elements of a water resources management information system

The ultimate requirements and form of the information system need to be examined. The six main components of an information system are:

• data collection,
• data transmission,
• data storage, analysis and transformation into 'user-friendly' information,
• information transmission,
• information dissemination, and
• an interactive system to aid decision making.

Data types

In gathering data on resources, there is likely to be a disparity between information on water supply, on the one hand, and water quality, on the other. While problems of water supply are widely recognized as an issue in water resource planning and management, the problems of water quality are insufficiently acknowledged. River quality is, for example, very complex and great simplifications are needed for practical planning purposes. As the worst quality at any point is far more significant than the best or average quality, it is important to have data on maximum or extreme values.

The inventory of current diversion and in-stream uses should cover aspects of location, quantity, quality and state of information in each case. The most important categories are likely to include:

• urban and industrial water supply,
• conveyance and disposal of wastewater,
• agriculture,
• flood protection,
• aquaculture and fisheries,
• hydropower,
• navigation,
• tourism,
• recreation and amenity,
• protection of the human and natural environments,
• defence,
• and so forth.

Obtaining information

There are a number of aspects to consider.

In addition to the points raised above, the team should consider details of managing the information collected:

The questions asked above can be used to create terms of reference for the improvement of an information system. Those undertaking an information system assessment should interview representatives of the relevant government ministries and other key stakeholders.

Hydrometeorological data are collected by a variety of national agencies and can be collated. It is useful to draw up tables or checklists that codify the availability and adequacy of data on both resource availability and resource use, sector by sector. The precise form of the checklists will vary considerably according to context and will not be considered here. In addition to traditional uses (hydropower, irrigation, navigation, industry, potable water, etc.), hydrological data are becoming vital in areas such as preserving ecosystems, maintaining the aquatic environment, preventing both deforestation and soil erosion, maintaining or improving public health, controlling pollution, maintaining or improving recreation and tourism, and predicting the climate.

Because many decision-makers (and the general public) are normally unaware of the economic value of water and the vital role it plays in the development process, it is not likely that water resource data are adequately assessed and used in decision making at any level of the community. Since an information system is about the management of data in all their forms, those responsible for information system assessment might recommend that the sources of both water supply and demand data be improved. This means working with the institutions responsible for generating these data, usually the national hydrological and meteorologic services, the water users, companies and associations.


Improving water resources information systems

In many practical situations, the quality, quantity and form of existing information may not match the rigours of improved planning and strategy formulation. Analysis should assess:

As appropriate for local conditions, the report should assess the relevance of information technology for the country or for specific hydrological basins. This should include a review of the possibilities of cost reduction in information management and the appropriateness of hardware and software to be employed in upgrading data collection and management.

Given below are recommendations for improving a water resources information system. They are common to many assessments.

Network rehabilitation

This includes repairing and upgrading hydrometeorological networks for measuring many parameters - including water quantity and quality, rainfall, evaporation, humidity, air temperature, and wind - through the installation of basic equipment. Network rehabilitation often involves improving the operation and maintenance of equipment and establishing telemetric systems if necessary. Studies often propose that the authorities consolidate and rationalize the existing hydrometeorological network rather than expand it.

Institutional and human resources development

Carefully tailored training programmes should emphasize in-service training, using the agency's own facilities as far as possible. It may be appropriate to provide this kind of training by expanding the activities of established training centres within existing academic or training institutions. In many countries, two or more agencies run hydrometeorological networks in parallel, with minimal coordination of efforts and reluctant exchange of data. Governments may wish to examine institutional arrangements to make agencies more dynamic and product-oriented, to enable them to serve the needs of water resource planners and managers in both the private and public sectors.

Improving transportation conditions

Mobility is an important element in water resources information systems, including hydrometeorological services. Field visits are needed to take measurements, for regular routine maintenance, and to detect and repair malfunctioning equipment. Purchase, maintenance and hire arrangements for vehicles need to be clearly established and adequately financed.

Improving data processing

More effective monitoring of water resources can be achieved by computerized data management and processing. Hardware should be compatible with local support services. User-friendly data processing and effective dissemination of hydrological information are often both needed, and there may be a case for more automation in data collection and transmission.

Establishing a Hydrological Cycle Observing System (HYCOS)

There is a growing need in many countries to collect and process data in a cost-effective and sustainable manner to provide a reliable data base. This means blending and reinforcing the conventional systems with modern technology and equipment, which would offer greater coverage on a regional and sub-regional basis than most current systems. Regional organizations can play an important role in achieving agreements between countries on joint activities in a region or river basin. A HYCOS system using telemetry and satellite communication would transmit hydrometeorological and environmental data from automatic data collection stations. The data would be collected, transmitted, stored, processed and disseminated by the hydrometeorological services on a daily basis, via an information system linked to both the public and private sectors. The HYCOS system would complement conventional hydrometeorological networks and would also strengthen the capacity of local hydrological services. It would allow the establishment of real-time monitoring of water resources and encourage regional and international collaboration.

Water users, companies and associations

Water users, companies and associations should keep detailed accounts of the water they receive, treat and distribute. This usually entails metering customers, including government agencies, and maintaining a financial accounting system. All of this information will be vital in order to improve demand management, for efficiency analysis and for the monitoring of general overall performance of the water distribution system for all sectors.


The effect of technology on institutions

Innovation in information technology has presented a challenge to all institutions, including the hydrometeorological services. New technologies have given information a much greater role in economic development, especially in water resources and environmental management. New technologies have brought change because of the speed and scale of information processing and dissemination, the new markets for data applications, the costs and revenues of data collection and the economic value of water resources information. More importantly, technologies are changing the way people think, manage and use information to design, monitor, evaluate and manage water resources on a day-to-day basis.


The role of economics

Applying economic concepts in strategy formulation
Cost recovery
Economic assessment of projects and programmes

The chapter reviews options for and constraints in dealing with water as a scarce economic resource and introducing economic concepts during different phases of strategy formulation. It expounds the concept of water as a scarce, economic good and the criteria for economic efficiency, water values, cost and pricing with application of economic incentive.

It also deals with the essential elements of economic analysis in support of decision-making - evaluating alternative courses and investments, estimating water values and costs, and examining different aspects of cost-recovery. Finally, methodology for economic assessment of projects and programmes and the requirements for improved financial management are presented.



Countries are increasingly recognizing that water not only has a social and environmental value, but an economic one as well that must be managed in terms of both quantity and quality. Economic efficiency - the ability to produce the same or more goods with fewer resources - is a key policy in most countries, one that is directly linked to the conservation of water. Price and other economic incentives are required to conserve water and increase the efficiency of its use. Also, since the least-cost options in water development have largely been exploited in most countries, further major investment in water will in most cases be in the area of water conservation and demand management. Economic analysis is an essential tool in helping select strategy options.

When formulating a strategy, countries should try to determine the value of water in different uses. Determining the value of water can be a difficult task, depending on the existing economic data on commodity prices, labour costs and input prices. Projecting such data over the long term is also very difficult. Nevertheless, lack of such data should not compromise strategy formulation. In fact, assessing data availability is the first of the tasks the strategy formulation team should consider undertaking in the area of water-related economics. The others include:

• projecting water demand (and the country's capability for making such projections);
• assessing the economic efficiency of existing water allocation;
• evaluating analytical methods used for water resource enquiries;
• reviewing and evaluating the ability of water pricing and cost recovery policies to meet national objectives;
• assessing the availability and adequacy of private and public capital for investment in water systems; and
• reviewing institutional, legal and regulatory systems.

If economic concepts and considerations are important in Phase I of the strategy process, they are absolutely crucial for sorting through the issues and making recommendations in Phase 2. The strategy team will need economic analysis techniques (along with social and environmental ones) to make projections, generate options, analyse impacts of various options, and choose which to recommend to policy-makers.

This section examines the major economic approaches to the valuation of water and the methods used to evaluate water strategies, costs and investments.

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