Water sector governance

a return ticket to anarchy


  • Kai Wegerich International Water Management Institute | East Africa and Nile Basin office
  • Jeroen Warner Social Sciences Group | Wageningen University
  • Cecilia Tortajada Third World Centre for Water Management


A political-science perspective of anarchy holds that anarchy is the absence of a ruler. In the
water sector, especially in terms of irrigated agriculture, emerging deficiencies of public
irrigation systems as well as the budget crisis of governments to sustain irrigated agriculture, resulted
into increased water user participation. Understanding the apparently increasing smidgeon of
anarchy in the water sector includes the appreciation of the complexity of water governance
developments such as the introduction of Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM), Irrigation
Management Transfer (IMT), basin councils, Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)
and Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSP), as well as the limited role of non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) and grassroots organisations (GROs), for decades considered the ‘magic bullet’
in taking over and providing state services to the public. We conclude that governance is anarchy
by other means.


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How to Cite

Wegerich, K. ., Warner, J. ., & Tortajada, C. . (2014). Water sector governance: a return ticket to anarchy. International Journal of Water Governance, 2(2-3), 7–20. Retrieved from https://journals.open.tudelft.nl/ijwg/article/view/5911