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International Water

Enhancing Public Involvement in Water Management

By engaging a broad cross-section of society, participatory approaches improve the quality and diversity of information that is available to decision-makers. Existing assumptions can be tested against different perspectives, values, and experiences. Transparency and public participation also improve governance by fostering public support for decisions and enhancing the accountability of the decision-makers.

The international community has increasingly recognized the critical role of civil society in protecting water resources. The move to integrate stakeholders into water management reflects a broader recognition of the public’s fundamental right to be involved in environmental decision-making processes that have the potential to impact their health, well-being, and livelihoods. It also reflects the practical benefits that can be derived from involving citizens in the governance of their water resources.

For over a decade, ELI has worked with partners around the world to encourage reasoned policy discussion among water institutions, governments, and civil society and to identify and implement practical mechanisms for expanding public participation in water management, both at the national and the transboundary levels. To learn more about our past and current projects in this area, click here. (links to GEF project, Coca-Cola project, Lake Victoria and Itaipu Fisheries Management, Orange River Basin, and TEIA).