Integrated Water Resources Management

A Comparative Laboratory for Water Governance


  • Mark Lubell Department of Environmental Science and Policy | University of California
  • Jurian Edelenbos Department of Public Administration | Erasmus University


integrated water resources management, functional, societal and institutional integration, adaptive governance, (de)centralization, economic development


In this article the special issue on Integrated Water Resources Management is introduced.
This special issue aims to add substantially to comparative cross-country knowledge building.
The paper builds upon the insights gained from the various contributions to this special issue,
coming from 13 different countries spread across the globe. The concept of IWRM is discussed
from the angles of the Rio-Dublin principles, Global Water Partnership definition and concepts
and ideas from adaptive governance. Furthermore, integration is discussed as the core of IWRM:
functional, societal and institutional integration. Based on the insight gained from the range of
contributions from this special issue, we argue that IWRM needs more systematic and comparative
approaches from both administrative (de)centralization and economic development points of
view. Moreover, in our comparative study we found trade-offs between the three identified forms
of integration. We argue that a perspective of an adaptive walk is required that tries to gain more
understanding in specific decentralization-centralization configurations per case/country/region
leading to (misfits in) functional, societal and institutional integration regarding IWRM.


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How to Cite

Lubell, M. ., & Edelenbos, J. . (2013). Integrated Water Resources Management: A Comparative Laboratory for Water Governance. International Journal of Water Governance, 1(3-4), 177–196. Retrieved from

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