Updating The Institutional Debate In Sustainable Water Management And Planning
Free (open access)
K. F. Wong
While acknowledging the contributions of the neo-institutional thinking in sustainable water management, this paper challenges the inadequate understanding of institutions in shaping human action in water consumption and financing. Strong belief in the efficiency of new formal institutional arrangements by active process of institutional design and crafting in pursuit of optimal resource management fails to consider the social impact on, and the cultural influence of, the public’s perception of sustainable use of water. This paper also shows that over-reliance on legal regulations can create disincentives. Downplaying the socially-embedded institutions undermines the effectiveness of bureaucratic institutions. The case study of England and Wales casts doubt on the universal application of the design principles for disregarding social and cultural contexts. Keywords: sustainable water management, institutions, privatisation, decentralisation, community participation, England and Wales. 1 Introduction Current calls for new institutional reforms in water management by the World Bank , OECD and the European Union marks a significant concept difference from the previous ones. Underpinned by a new set of institutional thinking, the Sustainable Water Management Framework departs from the dualism between state ownership and full privatisation, and moves towards the partnerships amongst privatised water companies, public regulators and the community. Institutional strengthening by decentralisation, stakeholder participation and
sustainable water management, institutions, privatisation, decentralisation, community participation, England and Wales.