The formation of multiple water governance structures at the community level will place new burdens on communities and require new capacities and additional resources.
by promoting the role of river basin organizations. How these will work with local government, however, is not yet clear. In an ideal world, water governance would be a well-oiled machine, producing fully integrated, carefully harmonized decisions and actions. But in reality, there is often confusion over who has authority to do what, especially when it comes to the control of water quality, groundwater and irrigation. Even where strategic water resources plans are in place, governance may be ineffective due to the proliferation of regulations or the ambiguity caused by overlapping jurisdictions, such as that of land-use planners versus that of hydropower managers. In Kenya, for example, at least 12 pieces of legislation (including the Forest Act, the Land Act, the Wetlands Act, the Agriculture Act, the Irrigation Act and the Water Act) affect water governance.There are efforts to develop a more holistic approach by building upon existing community structures such as Catchment Conservation Committees under the Forest Act and Catchment Advisory Committees under the Water Act. “Obviously, the formation of multiple
structures at the community level will be placing new burdens on communities and will require new capacities and additional resources,” says Simon Thuo, Regional Coordinator for GWP Eastern Africa. Problems of integration and insufficient capacity also affect West Africa. For example, in both Ghana and Benin there is little coordination of planning between the water, agriculture and energy sectors. Benin and Niger have attempted to decentralize authority over water resources, much as Uganda has done. However, in practice, water supply and sanitation are still managed by the State, with considerable overlaps of responsibilities. In addition, local communities lack the skills they need to set up regulation bodies and monitor their local services. “The lessons these consultations have provided are exciting and informative,” says Thuo. “They reveal that the way we govern water resources has a profound impact on livelihoods, opportunities and environmental sustainability.Yet governance and capacity building are receiving less investment and real attention than technical issues such as infrastructure development.”
Global Water Partnership Annual Report