INTEGRATED RIVER BASIN MANAGEMENT IN CANADA

Lynne Kiesling

Thanks to Jonathan Adler for his recent post on a new paper on integrated river basin management. The paper, by William Blomquist (IUPUI), Ken Calbick and Ariel Dinar (both of World Bank), is available at SSRN. I have not yet read it, but it looks like an interesting analysis of a set of decentralized, (dare I say) organic institutions that do a pretty good job of managing the Fraser River watershed. From the abstract:

The NGO approach has allowed FBC to match the boundaries of the entire basin, avoid some intergovernmental turf battles, and involve First Nations communities and private stakeholders in ways governmental approaches sometimes find difficult. While its NGO status means that FBC cannot implement many of the plans it agrees on and must constantly work to maintain diverse yet stable funding, FBC holds substantial esteem among basin stakeholders for its reputation for objectivity, its utility as an information sharing forum, and its success in fostering an awareness of interdependency within the basin.

Note the crucial focus on transparency, information sharing, and the importance of knowing the degree of interdependency of the appropriators/agents on the river network. Sounds like another thing to read along with Ostrom in my difficult thinking about institutional change.