Water Resources Management

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 1241–1257 | Cite as

Globalizing Integrated Water Resources Management: A Complicated Option in Southern Africa



There is empirical evidence to show that global water resources management paradigm shifts, guided by neo-liberal principles, have played a significant role in the emergence of the integrated water resources management school of thought. In turn, this school of thought has guided most water sector reforms in Southern Africa. Using case studies from South Africa and Zimbabwe, the paper explores the structural influence of integrated water resources management discourses and mainstream development theories promoted at the global level on developing economies. It further explores the utility of the integrated water resources management framework at the local levels. The paper goes beyond theory and articulates some of the key processes that took place in the Mazowe catchment in Zimbabwe and the Inkomati catchment in South Africa where the water reform programmes were piloted. Some insights on the application of neo-liberal principles in the water sectors of Southern African countries begin to emerge from the paper.


Globalization Neo-liberalism Poverty Stakeholder participation Institutions Integrated water resources management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urban Management (UMMP)Ethiopian Civil Service CollegeAddis AbabaEthiopia

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