Political Pitfalls of Integrated Watershed Management

Society and Natural Resources. Volume 18, Number 2 (February 2005), pp. 101-117

Posted: 18 Jan 2015

See all articles by William A. Blomquist

William A. Blomquist

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Edella Schlager

University of Arizona - School of Public Administration and Policy

Date Written: February 2005

Abstract

Integrated watershed management, preferably under the direction of a watershed or basin management body, has been prescribed in the water policy literature and from other quarters for decades. Few instances may be found where this recommendation has been implemented. This gap between prescription and practice is sometimes attributed to politics, as a sort of nuisance to be overcome or avoided through rational comprehensive consensus-based decision making. Fundamental political considerations are inherent in water resources management, however, and are unavoidable even if the desire for watershed-scale decision making bodies were realized. Boundary definition, choices about decision-making arrangements, and issues of accountability will arise in any watershed, and may help to explain why watershed management has more often taken polycentric organizational forms composed of sub-watershed communities of interest. An example of a small Southern California watershed is used to highlight the political issues inherent in attempts at watershed management.

Keywords: watershed management, political decision making, consensus decision making, watershed organizations, integrated water resources management

Suggested Citation

Blomquist, William A. and Schlager, Edella, Political Pitfalls of Integrated Watershed Management (February 2005). Society and Natural Resources. Volume 18, Number 2 (February 2005), pp. 101-117, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2550842

William A. Blomquist (Contact Author)

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) ( email )

Department of Political Science
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States
317-274-7547 (Phone)
317-278-3280 (Fax)

Edella Schlager

University of Arizona - School of Public Administration and Policy ( email )

Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States
(520) 621-7965 (Phone)
(520) 621-4171 (Fax)

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