River Basin management can be conceptualized as the co-evolution of and interaction between dynamic biophysical natural systems and their socio-economic geo-political equivalent. Integrated River Basin Management institutional best practice currently strongly advocates the River Basin Organisation (RBO) model as pivotal to achieve sustainable management outcomes. Unlike RBOs in transboundary settings, smaller nationally bounded RBOs are relatively poorly studied.

How well are RBOs placed to deliver on their original management objectives? How flexible are they with regard to changing demands, which may originate from external drivers such as climate change and population growth? Can they deliver on sustainability objectives that are set in an international context, such as the Sustainable Development Goals? What can we learn from the way RBOs have performed to date?

This meta-analysis investigates the effectiveness of four RBOs as a governance model for sustainable management of river basins. Sustainable management is defined as the ability to provide water security and ecosystem services security to its beneficiaries. Context specific governance issues will be analyzed across dimensions of political science, organizational behaviour, institutional arrangements, resourcing and its core functions such as data generation, provision and restoration, and the impact of program implementation on the biophysical system of the basin being managed.  The review will determine which key information is required from decision-makers, RBO staff and beneficiaries, in order to develop performance indicators for the selected RBOs. Management stages of planning, implementing and evaluating outputs coupled back to evidence based management outcomes and feedback loops will be explored.

Advisors:  Assoc Prof Yongping Wei, Prof Karen Hussey, Assoc Prof Jamie Pittock

Project members

Frederick Bouckaert


PhD candidate