Federal Rivers
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Federal Rivers

Managing Water in Multi-Layered Political Systems

Edited by Dustin E. Garrick, George R.M. Anderson, Daniel Connell and Jamie Pittock

This groundbreaking book provides a comparative perspective on water and federalism across multiple countries. Through a collection of case studies, this book explores the water management experiences and lessons learned in ten federal countries and China. The territorial division of power in federations, plus the interconnected politics at the national and regional levels, present a classic governance test for waters shared across multiple political jurisdictions. This is increasingly important as democratic transitions have introduced or invigorated federalism across diverse contexts affecting more than 300 major river basins, including over half of the world’s international rivers.
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Chapter 16: China's political system, economic reform and the governance of water quality in the Pearl River Basin

Managing Water in Multi-Layered Political Systems

Andre Silveira


Chinaís economic reform and opening up process initiated in 1978 has supported a more decentralized style of governing public affairs, including water resources management. With the aim of promoting economic growth, provincial and municipal authorities were given enhanced economic and administrative powers. This has encouraged greater competition among jurisdictions to attract investment. Some of the pitfalls of such fragmentation have been exposed by the difficulties in cross-boundary work to control water pollution, monitor water quality and safeguard drinking water security. This is illustrated through the analysis of the Pearl River Basinís case. The institutional structures in place display features that seem to have negative consequences for the capacity of the governance regime to adjust and address evolving social and environmental challenges.

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