Institutional and Policy Analysis of River Basin Management: The Fraser River Basin, Canada
35 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2005
Date Written: February 2005
The authors describe and analyze a nongovernmental, multi-stakeholder, consensus-based approach to river basin management in the Fraser River basin in Canada. The Fraser River drains 238,000 km2 of British Columbia, supporting nearly 3 million residents and a diverse economy. Water management issues include water quality and allocation, flood protection, and emerging scarcity concerns in portions of the basin. The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a locally-initiated nongovernmental organization (NGO) with representation from public and private stakeholders. Since evolving in the 1990s from earlier programs and projects in the basin, FBC has pursued several objectives related to a broad concept of basin "sustainability" incorporating social, economic, and environmental aspects. 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.
This paper - a product of the Agricultural and Rural Development Department - is part of a larger effort in the department to approach water policy issues in an integrated way. The study was funded by the Bank's Research Support Budget under the research project "Integrated River Basin Management and the Principle of Managing Water Resources at the Lowest Appropriate Level: When and Why Does It (Not) Work in Practice?"
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