River basins, with a wide range of uses supporting a great diversity of people, cultures and jurisdictions, require suitable institutions, policy instruments and management strategies to ensure just and equal access to water without compromising the health of the river.
This brief, developed in partnership by WIN and GWP, outlines key risk factors and integrity challenges that are specific to river basin management and points to some key measures that can increase integrity in river basin management, with examples from Indonesia, Japan, Spain, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Key risk factors include the facts that: “Decision making in river basins is dispersed across many sectors and spills into different types of agencies. Large amounts of public money flow into river management and the technical complexities of river management decreases participation and transparency.” The challenges are increased by rapid urbanization and climate change.
IWRM is one important approach to improve water governance at basin level. The brief highlights the role of IWRM and its effectiveness in improving coordination to river basin scale but also points to possible “increases in corruption risks as the level of social control and administrative monitoring decreases when interactions occur outside the established systems.”
Factoring in water integrity in the formulation and implementation of IWRM strategies at river basin level can improve the sustainability, equity and sustainability of such strategies. The brief concludes with examples of how including Transparency, Accountability and Participation principles -the pillars of water integrity- in basin management, have already helped strengthen institutions and increased the satisfaction of stakeholders in several worldwide river basins.