Water resources management: The missing political link

Kurt Mørck Jensen, Jens Christian Refsgaard

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The development of water resources management (WRM) concepts over time in developed and developing country contexts have traditionally been described as separate processes, as if belonging to two different worlds. Partly because the issues and challenges appeared to be different and partly because the author communities typically had professional experience from only one of the two worlds. Based on experience from research and practical implementation of WRM concepts in both developed and developing countries, we argue that although there are obvious differences, there are many fundamental similarities in the unfolding challenges for developing and developed countries. In this chapter, we describe and assess common experiences and lessons learned in the evolution of WRM concepts and the challenges in their implementation for developed and developing countries over the past five decades. We furthermore assess the role of donors in developing WRM concepts and discuss perspectives for future developments. We conclude that the decision-making processes in the water resources sector cannot be fully understood from normative concepts such as Integrated Water Resources Management and the Nexus. It is essential to also consider "the political economy of water" in terms of hardcore political analyses of asymmetrical and sometimes antagonistic stakeholder positions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge handbook of water and development
EditorsSofie Hellberg, Fredrik Söderbaum, Ashok Swain, Joakim Öjendal
PublisherTaylor & Francis Group
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-09554-5
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-55876-5
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2023

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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