Tanzania, like most sub-Saharan African countries is implementing integrated water resource management (IWRM) principles. Part of this process is the design and implementation of new institutional arrangements, both on the national as well as the local level. However, when it comes to local level institutional reforms, little guidance seems to be available to allow for successful implementation. On the local level, the implementation of new institutions and approaches for IWRM will require one to tackle various dilemmas and to make some difficult choices. Generally, these local dilemmas seem somewhat underrepresented or at least scattered in the existing literature. This paper brings together some of these institutional dilemmas, based on experiences in the Mkoji sub-catchment, which is part of the Rufiji Basin in Tanzania. Five institutional dilemmas are discussed in detail: (i) New versus existing institutions, (ii) neutral reforms versus actively reshaping power relations, (iii) long-term versus short-term objectives, (iv) incremental changes versus visionary master planning and (v) centralized versus decentralized management structures. Although there is no easy way out of these dilemmas, their mere identification can already help water professionals and policy makers to avoid certain pitfalls in future institutional reform processes.
CIRAD Workshop on Water Resource Management for Local Development: Governance, Institutions and Policies, 08-11 November 2004, Aventura, Loskop Dam, South Africa, pp 24