Water stakeholders are the individuals or a group of individuals that have their own water interests. Stakeholders may be represented by agricultural water users, water managers, inspectors, legislators and others, who benefit from or are affected by the way the water is managed.

National level

National and provincial levels are comprised of the institutions financed from the Republican budget and which represent public interests. First of all, those institutions are responsible for elaboration of agricultural and water management strategies and for operation of water infrastructure.

The key stakeholders at the national level are: i) the Government, ii) ministries and agencies, iii) design and research institutions.

Provincial and district levels

The key stakeholders at the provincial and district levels are:

  • Provincial and district authorities.
  • Provincial agricultural and water management administrations and their territorial branches.
  • Operators of water infrastructure.

Local level

The following stakeholders can be grouped at the local level:

  • Water consumers (individual and peasant farms).
  • Water users (groupings of water consumers – WUA, …).
  • Community self-management entities (citizens meetings, jamoats, …).
  • NGOs,
  • Others (suppliers of agricultural inputs, agricultural production organizations, and the people, whose livelihoods depend on irrigated agriculture, …).

Water suppliers and water users

The case is not that water suppliers are “bad guys” and water users are “good guys”. “Bad guys” are found among both water suppliers and water users (particularly upstream users). The case is that “good guys” among water users should unite into community organizations so that “good guys” among water suppliers could distribute water equitably and effectively. “Good guys” among water suppliers are largely interested in cooperation with “good guys” among water users as such cooperation gives a feedback and water suppliers get indications of the quality of their water management.

Local authority

Usually, local authority fulfills the water governance functions. Practices show that the governing role of local authority has both positive and negative effects on the quality of management. For example, without interference of local authority it is difficult to apply water rotation and ensure that water reaches tail users in case of strong water scarcity.

The purpose of transition to participatory management, first of all, is to enhance the positive role and lessen the negative role of local authority through democratization of water governance process. Local authority like water users is a stakeholder and, therefore, should be involved in water governance rather than in water management.


The issues of rural women related to access to water, land, financial and material resources, education and culture are extremely topical. It is believed that most women, on average about one third, suffer from limited enabling environment.

The role and the form of participation of local authority and community self-management entities in water governance

Local authority may play an important role in supervision of IWRM-related measures both within their respective boundaries and inside the catchment area. They fulfill the functions involving both service regulation and provision and also have a role in fee collection. Despite differing levels of authority in the area of water services, local administrations bear direct and indirect responsibility for water security in their communities and for their industrial base.

In the context of IWRM, local authority may impact aquatic ecosystems through energy supply, land use, point and non-point pollution, building practices, education system, waste and urban drainage water management. The role of local authority in supporting IWRM is particularly high in places, where resource planning and management is subjected to decentralization and democratization.

Local authority has a set of economic tools to shape behavior of their citizens. Those include fee charging and collection, payments for licensing and other government services, specific taxes and additional fees, incentives (bonuses and reliefs), as well as penalties.

Diversity of jurisdictions and types of activity in the area of IWRM makes it difficult to make general conclusions about their efficiency. Nevertheless, the following lessons can be drawn:

  • Stakeholders should engage with decision making process and participate in actual dialogue with decision makers.
  • Access of the public to basic information on local water quality and on topical issues (regarding long-term water security in communities) is critical for responsible public participation.
  • Local administrations should initiate sustainable community processes.
  • Initiatives on long-term planning should be supplemented by concrete actions so that to keep stakeholders’ interest in such plans. For example, a local approach to arrangement of water transportation corridors should be harmonized with local systems of encouragement. This is to be taken into consideration in the voluntary programs of water quality monitoring, tree planting and river festivals on community level. Such short-term measures encourage active members of a community and local enterprises and strengthen their long-term interest in the programs.
  • Changes in policies of public utilities yield more effective results if they are linked with the real change in roles and responsibilities of professional staff (e.g. through implementation of environment-based management system).
  • Influence of local authorities is limited due to their political weakness and lack of financial resources, i.e. those could be effective only provided that certain conditions favorable for their performance are met.

Author: Mirzaev N.N., SIC ICWC