Definition and Scope of Analysis

Water governance refers to the specific system of social order regulating relations related to water (suppliers, users, polluters, interest groups etc.) and stimulating appropriate behavior for sustainable exploitation of water resources. Agricultural water management is studied as integral part of the systems of water management, farm management and environmental management (Fig. 24.1). The analysis takes into account all critical factors affecting specific management choice related to water - natural, institutional, economical, technological, behavioral, international etc.

Furthermore, the analysis embraces all mechanisms and modes of governance affective individual, collective and social behavior including: (a) institutional environment - distribution of formal and informal property rights and rules, and system(s) of enforcement of these rights and regulations; (b) private modes (private and collective order) - diverse voluntary initiatives and specially designed contractual and organizational arrangements of private agents such as codes of behavior, contracts, cooperatives, associations, business ventures etc; (c) market modes -various decentralized initiatives governed by free market price movements and market competition; (d) public forms (public order) - different forms of a third-party public (Government, international etc.) intervention in market and private sectors such as public information, regulation, assistance, funding, taxation, control, provision etc; (e) hybrid modes - some combination of above three.

Individual governing modes have different potential to induce effective and sustainable exploitation of water resources and reconcile water related conflicts since they give unlike incentives (benefits) and impose different costs to agents associated with water.1 Depending on the specific system of water governance in a particular industry, region, country etc, the efficiency and sustainability of exploitation of water resources is quite different.

Agricultural water management (AWM)

Factors: water resources technologies water demand water culture climate change others

Agricultural water management (AWM)

Water management

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Farm management

Environmental management

Mechanisms of governance:

institutions market private collective public hybrid

Fig. 24.1 Framework for analysis of agricultural water management

1 While market prices could coordinate well relations between water suppliers and users, regulation of relations of water polluters and users require a special private or public order.

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