Institutional challenges for water resources management: India and South Africa


The comparison of water resources management issues in India and South Africa can be mutually beneficial given the bold new initiatives in post-apartheid South Africa and the rich history of water resource development and management in India. The focus of this paper is the institutional structures for water resource management, and the problems that are either caused or overlooked by these structures. Both countries have a constitutional objective of providing water as a fundamental right for citizens, but there have been problems in implementing this objective. This paper hopes to direct attention towards these problems by locating them within the network of institutional linkages at habitation level, district level, state (or provincial level) and national level.

The paper begins by outlining the South African case (section two), which presents the structure of envisaged institutional arrangements at the levels of the habitation, the district, the province and the nation, before listing problems of realising the constitutional objective, both at national and sub-national levels. The Indian case is next outlined (section three), with a similar effort to first present the complex of institutional arrangements at the habitation, district, state and national levels, before the problems are discussed along with possible causes. The fourth section has some practical suggestions on how to overcome the institutional challenges posed by existing government structures and mechanisms, while the fifth section concludes.


WHIRL Project Working Paper 7, 27 pp.

Institutional challenges for water resources management: India and South Africa

Published 1 January 2003