The Politics of River Basin Organisations
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The Politics of River Basin Organisations

Coalitions, Institutional Design Choices and Consequences

Edited by Dave Huitema and Sander Meijerink

Can River Basin Organisations (RBOs) actually improve water governance? RBOs are frequently layered on top of existing governmental organisations, which are often reluctant to share their power. This, in turn, can affect their performance. The Politics of River Basin Organisations addresses this issue by exploring the subject on a global level.
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Chapter 9: Introducing river basin management in a transitional context: a case study about Ukraine

Nina Hagemann and Marco Leidel


Ukraine introduced river basin management at a time when the country was still in a transitional phase, adapting from a socialist economy to a free market economy. The laws and regulations were often found to be wanting in respect of necessary by-laws to implement new rules. This was also the case for river basin management. In many Ukrainian river basins, international actors enhanced the establishment of river basin organisations (RBOs) by setting up river basin specific regulations. The role of different actors, especially international organisations and their influence in setting up a river basin management concept, are the key aspects of consideration in this chapter. Water quality of water bodies across Ukraine is severely compromised: all river basins are classified as polluted or heavily polluted (OECD 2006). The highest impacts result from wastewater from old facilities and infrastructure, and depending on the region in question, from industrial water pollution, fertiliser nutrient run-off from agricultural fields and effluents from the mining industry as well. A change in water quality is evident between the period before and after political independence. After becoming an independent country, many industries collapsed due to structural changes and the impact of this sudden change on water quality was significantly reduced. The same can be said for impacts of agricultural land use (FAO 2005; Stålnacke et al. 2003). During Soviet times, sanitary systems had been installed that were state-of-the-art.

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