However, they are slow to be implemented due to a lack of appropriate governance, particularly at basin level. And yet, appropriate governance can provide answers to a wide range of questions, reminding us that water management is an eminently political matter.

How can we compartmentalize and harmonize highly interdependent public policies in areas such as water, health, the environment, agriculture, energy, regional planning and regional economic development?

How can surface water and groundwater be managed together?

How can the benefits and negative impacts of major hydraulic engineering projects be weighed up?  What legal and institutional frameworks should be put in place, and what degree of decentralization should be granted to local authorities?

At the basin level, INBO promotes a resolutely participatory management model. This model combines the executive body (the basin organization), which is traditionally responsible for planning IWRM, with a deliberative body (the basin committee or council).

The deliberative body enables stakeholders (the State, local authorities, civil society organizations, water users) to be involved at every stage of strategic planning (diagnosis, implementation, evaluation, correction).

Participatory river basin management can be considered of interest in its own right, as a value to be defended.

It is also a determining factor in the effectiveness and efficiency of public policies.

It helps to improve knowledge by widening the circle of those involved in gathering data and information for the emergence of shared diagnoses. It also encourages support for the objectives set collectively, ownership of the measures to be implemented and a sense of responsibility for the results.

Finally, it is a powerful tool for reconciling and arbitrating the divergent interests of different water users.

There is no single, universal model of concerted governance that is valid everywhere in the world. The cultural, political, economic, social and climatic diversity of our river basins is enormous. This model therefore needs to be systematically adapted to the different contexts, to determine the appropriate methods and degree of participatory management and the financial resources to be mobilized.

This management must also be able to rely on water information systems, which are invaluable decision-making tools.