Exploration of the Governance Systems for Sustainable Water Management with a Special Focus on Iran's Conditions

Document Type : Review Paper


1 Department of Water Science and Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Birjand

2 Ph.D Candidate in Water Resources, Department of Water Science and Engineering, University of Birjand, Birjand, Iran.



Competition for water resources, driven by demand and supply pressures arising from economic development, population growth, and climate change, has transformed the water crisis into the most fundamental challenge of the current century, with implications for human rights and food security. By 2050, water stress will affect over four billion people around the world. Clearly, without a significant shift from crisis management to risk management, conflicts will intensify, rendering avoidance impossible. Researchers have largely attributed the water crisis to governance instability (including political, social, economic, and administrative systems responsible for the development and management of water resources). Therefore, water governance mechanisms worldwide require innovative and sustainable approaches to adapt for evolving conditions and related uncertainties in the water sector. Consequently, different approaches to water governance have emerged in countries and regions around the world. However, the concept of water governance remains a subject of debate, with many aspects yet to be adequately explained, particularly in Iran, where a significant gap is felt in addressing the issues raised in global literature. This study, employing a review-analytical approach, initially clarifies the foundations and concepts of water governance, introduces its types and characteristics, and subsequently examines the state of water governance in Iran and globally. It portrays the advantages and challenges thereof, and based on these findings, provides recommendations and solutions for improvement, emphasizing the economic, social, and legal conditions prevailing in the country.


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