The Precept and Practice of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in India

Part of the Global Issues in Water Policy book series (GLOB, volume 16)


Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has been advanced as a response to growing problems of water scarcity in the developing world. While the precept of the IWRM process is unexceptionable, its practice has meant a package of interventions. The trouble with the ‘IWRM package’, and indeed the global water governance debate as a whole, is its intent to transform, all at once, a predominantly informal water economy into a predominantly formal one—something that would normally be the result of a long process of economic growth and the transformation that comes in its wake. In the IWRM discourse, formalizing informal water economies is improving water governance. But evidence across the world suggests that there is no shortcut for a poor society to morph its informal water economy into a formal one; the process by which this happens is organically tied to wider processes of economic growth. When countries try to force the pace of formalization, as they will no doubt do, interventions come unstuck. Interventions are more likely to work if they aim to improve the working of a water economy while it is informal.


Informal economy Governance Institutional arrangement Economic growth Groundwater 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IWMI-India Water Policy ProgramInternational Water Management InstituteAnandIndia
  2. 2.Principal Researcher Poverty, Gender and WaterInternational Water Management InstituteSilvertonSouth Africa

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