An Effective Organization for River Basin Management

A fundamental feature of the IWRM idea is the recognition of the river basin as a management unit. This makes the implementation of an IWRM a particular challenge: it requires simultaneous coordination between administrative units, such as provinces, administrative levels, e.g. local and national levels, and water-using sectors across the entire catchment area. The river basin organisation is the most important decision-making body in this matter.

A river basin organisation (RBO) is usually the umbrella organisation that keeps an eye on the big picture, has an overview of the water situation in the catchment area and makes meaningful decisions for the catchment area. In a management plan, it defines objectives, activities and responsibilities.

River basin organisations: Balancing the interests of all actors

Based on a Supreme Water Council resolution the first Iranian river basin organisation was established in 2014 for the Zayandeh Rud catchment. It is chaired by the Minister of Energy as the highest authority for water issues in the government, its other members are representatives of the national and provincial governments, sectoral departments and affected people. According to the resolution the RBO Zayandeh Rud has the power to make decisions covering all water management issues in the catchment.

Successful IWRM: management plan and expert views needed

The primary objective of RBO is to ensure fair water distribution, which is to be achieved in particular by involving the most important stakeholders. As quickly as possible, the organisation should effectively establish itself as the most important decision-making authority in the Zayandeh Rud catchment area. In order to formalise its work, it needs a management plan as a basic document. A substructure of expert working groups is also necessary to develop decisions and measures on a well-founded basis. An example could be the institutional design of river basin management in Europe according to the European Water Framework Directive, which is regarded as the most successful example for the implementation of IWRM.

Work Packages
    • Towards an Effective River Basin Organisation