FIG PUBLICATION NO. 77

Good Practice or Resilience Planning to Address Water Governance Challenges in Africa

FIG Commission 8 - Spatial Planning and Development

Working Group 8.5 on African Water Governance

FIG REPORT

Primary Author:
Prof. Richard Pagett

Co-Authors:

Prof. Isaac Boateng
Prof. Kwasi Appeaning Addo
Dr. Philip-Neri Jayson-Quashigah
Dr. Kofi Adu-Boahe

   


This publication as a .pdf-file (44 pages - 0.8Mb)

PREFACE

Water is an indispensable resource for society, yet it can also pose threats such as floods or droughts. Water governance seeks to enhance the equal, efficient, and effective distribution of water resources and balances water use between socio-economic activities and ecosystems. Political, social, and economic arrangements can govern the process of water management, which becomes more and more urgent given the impact of climate change and the need for sustainable development.

FIG Commission’s 8 Working Group 8.5 about African water governance has delivered a report addressing the challenges of water governance in urbanised areas in Africa. Lack of water is impacting the ecology, agriculture, and the general economy of most African nations. In addition, poor water governance results in inequitable access to freshwater and unsustainable water usage in many parts of Africa.

It is the purpose of FIG and its Commission 8 to assist the surveying profession in all aspects of spatial planning and development. This report considers some of the social, environmental, political and economic context of water governance in Africa to identify the strategies necessary in terms of resilience, in the face of climate change, population growth and diminishing resources. Cross-cutting socio-economic, systemic and policy challenges in water governance are analysed and critical success factors for managing water resources in Africa are described. In response to the expected impact of climate change the need for strategies to enhance future resilience in water governance is apparent.

This publication of FIG Commission 8 further contributes to seek sustainable pathways for water governance from the broader perspective of spatial planning. The report should help government, decision makers and professionals in Africa and beyond to respond to the major challenges of sustainable water governance, both qualitative and quantitative.

FIG would like to thank the members of the working group and the specialists who have contributed to this publication for their constructive and helpful work.

Marije Louwsma
Chair of FIG Commission 8, 2019–2022


Introduction

Environmental change as a result of climate change, population growth and desertification is affecting water systems significantly in Africa. Lack of water is impacting the ecology, agriculture and the general economy of most African nations. In addition, poor water governance results in inequitable access to freshwater and the unsustainability of its use in many parts of Africa. Water governance refers to a range of political, social, economic and administrative systems that are in place to develop and manage water resources and the delivery of water services, at different levels of society (UNDP 2004). It has also been defined as a set of rules, practices, and processes (formal and informal) through which decisions for the management of water resources and services are taken and implemented, stakeholders articulate their interest and decision-makers are held accountable (OECD, 2015a). Water governance addresses issues on who gets what water at what quality and quantity, when and how, and who has the right to water and related services, and their benefits as well as dealing with the challenges in water delivery at all levels. Effective water management determines the equity and efficiency in water resource and services allocation and distribution, and balances water use between socio-economic activities and ecosystems (Milligan, 2018).

Ensuring the resilience of water governance in Africa is critical as there is a near consensus that the social and ecological impacts of water-related issues are disproportionately high (Schulze, 2011). The issues are also worsened by infrastructural deficits, weak institutional capacity and high political instability in the continent (Bonnassieux & Gangneron, 2011; Spoon, 2014). Sustainable assess to water is still a major challenge in Africa due to disjointed management arrangements, multiple and divergent actors’ interests, discordancy between formal and informal water institutions, the inadequate political will to support water governance, and uncoordinated water management policies (Lalika et al., 2015; Msuya, 2010). The need to understand the social, environmental, political and economic context of water management in Africa requires analysis of current and future challenges in terms of the resilience of water governance (Olagunju et al., 2019).

Water used to be the main factor of the location for settlements. It used to be the key source of transport, agriculture and trade. Therefore, controlling water resources was a source of power and wealth. Conventionally, there was no formal regulatory regime for water resources in most societies of the world. Water resources were governed by customary/traditional and informal arrangement/ institutional framework. In fact, water governance was in the hands of the users and this in most cases led to abuse of water resources and the struggle for control by the user groups, which often led to conflict (Meissner and Jacobs 2016). Over the years, it became clear that water is too valuable a commodity for its management to be handed over to its users and there remains a vital role for external monitoring and enforcement (DWAF, 1997). This insight brought governmental, non-governmental and other stakeholder institutions into water governance. This multi-stakeholder arrangement for water governance emerges from transboundary water governance. These multiple institutions mostly act as monitors and enforcers of bilateral or multilateral water governance regulatory policies. The water resource community in these instances includes the governmental and private sectors, water managers, users and civil society implementing transboundary water management strategies (Meissner and Jacobs 2016). This ‘community’ also develops solutions to water management challenges.

According to Norman and Bakker (2009), the water governance literature describes governance based not on political borders but on natural catchments and encourages multi-sectoral approaches like Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). International river basin organisations and commissions have become common institutional forms that manage water. These organisations are set up with the aim of fostering basin-wide cooperation (Mirumachi and Van-Wyk, 2010). Institutional mechanisms, such as co-management, public-private partnerships and social–private partnerships are among the conventional ways in which the state, users and communities interact to manage water resources (Lemos and Agrawal, 2006). In recent times, water governance has become a global issue due to water scarcity, water resource crises in some part of the world, climate change, global rush for land and water and power shifts in the global political economy (Sojamo, and Larson, 2012). In addition, rapid economic development and societal change are putting increasing pressure on water ecosystems and other natural resources (Batchelor, undated; Baumgartner and Pahl-Wostl, 2013). In many countries or regions, demand is exceeding supply to the extent that water resources are fully allocated in all, but the highest rainfall years. Under such conditions, which are often referred to as river basin “closure”, available water resources are fully allocated and the political importance of effective water governance increases (Batchelor, undated).

This report considers some of the social, environmental, political and economic context of water governance in Africa to identify the strategies necessary in terms of resilience, in the face of climate change, population growth and diminishing resources.


Chapters

2 Current and Future Challenges in Resilience of Water Governance
3 Principles of Conventional Water Governance and Climate Change Imperatives
4 Current Practice for Managing Water Resources
5 Critical Success Factors when Managing Water Resources
6 Proposals for Future Scenario Strategies for Managing Water Resources
7 Conclusions and Recommendations

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Published in English
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ISSN 2311-8423 (pdf)
ISBN 978-87-92853-34-9 (pdf)

Published by
International Federation of Surveyors (FIG)
Layout: Lagarto


FIG PUBLICATION No 77

Good Practice for Resilience Planning to Address Water Governance Challenges in Africa
Main Author Prof. Richard Pagett
Published in English
Published by The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), June 2021
ISSN 2311-8423 (pdf)
ISBN 978-87-92853-34-9 (pdf)


©2021 FIG