Institutions and water governance in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Kolawole, OLuwatoyin Dare
Mbaiwa, Joseph E.
PublisherTaylor & Francis Online, https://www.tandfonline.com
RightsThe article is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
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The goals of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) can be achieved by embracing the principles of distributive governance, which places both customary and statutory water institutions on the same pedestal in the governance of water resources. As culture and traditions constitute intangible aspects of water resources management in rural Africa, the recognition of water governance systems grounded in local norms, which correspond better with the aspirations of local water users as against the expert-knowledge systems is desirable. Following the introduction of the statutory institutions in postcolonial Africa, customary institutions, which were once effective in regulating water resources became relegated to the background in those countries, including Botswana . Adopting a critical literature review approach, this article employs the concept of legal pluralism to analyze the institutional factors that create the disharmony between cultural and statutory water governance and management institutions. Findings indicate that water has been abstracted from its social nature and transformed into a tradable economic good. Ultimately, the local meanings and images encoded in water as a nature-given resource are overlooked, thus generating conflicts in water governance. The paper recommends the adoptions of legal pluralism under which water institutions need to embrace both customary and statutory institutions.
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